A MAN accused of beating his friend to death with a claw hammer confessed to the killing because he didn’t want someone else to get the blame, a court heard.

Daniel Dodsworth, 29, is accused of murdering Darlington man, Alan Youngson, whose partially decomposed body was found buried in a shallow grave almost two months after he vanished.

The body was found on October 7 in woodland near Jedburgh Drive, in the Branksome area of Darlington. He had been missing since August 15.

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On the third day of the murder trial, Teesside Crown Court heard that, after initially denying having anything to do with the 25-year-old’s death, Mr Dodsworth confessed in a police interview on October 12.

“I killed Alan Youngson,” he told officers.

The jury heard this followed Mr Dodsworth's appearance at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court.

He appeared together with another man who had also been arrested on suspicion of murder, prosecutors said.

During a police interview read out in court, Mr Dodsworth said: “I went into court, I had seen someone else was in court for something I had done.

“I have been there myself for something I haven’t done and I couldn’t see him in court for something he hadn’t done.”

He initially claimed that he lent Mr Youngson his bike so he could cycle home after an evening drinking at his house in Branksome Green on August 15.

However the jury heard Mr Dodsworth later admitted beating Mr Youngson over the head with a hammer after he allegedly became aggressive and accused him of sleeping with his ex-girlfriend.

He also said that Mr Youngson had thrown drinks on the floor and threatened to kill him with a kitchen knife.

Mr Dodsworth said he hit his friend over the head with a claw hammer before dragging his body into the back garden.

There were cries from the public gallery as the jury heard how he put the body in a stolen wheelie bin and tok it to the nearby woodland for burial.

He is also alleged to have burnt all evidence of the attack.

Mr Dodsworth denies murder, claiming he acted in self-defence. He admits preventing Mr Youngson’s lawful burial.

The trial continues.