FAMILY and friends of a grandmother stabbed and strangled over £30 wept as a 999 call was played to the jury in the trial of a neighbour accused of her murder.

The call, by Rose Doughty's granddaughter Emma MacDonald, followed her discovery of the 72-year-old's body at her Middlesbrough flat.

Christian Darko, 41, is alleged to have killed Mrs Doughty and then returned to her flat in Fosdyke Green, Netherfields, to steal £30 which he spent on topping up his electricity meter, cigarettes and lottery cards.

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Ms MacDonald, whose statement was read by prosecutor Nick Dry, said she visited her 'Nana' every day.

She said she let herself in to Mrs Doughty's flat and found her on the floor in her bedroom doorway “freezing cold” with a cut on her face and blood on the top of her collar.

Teesside Crown Court heard the defendant later approached Ms MacDonald and asked if everything was okay.

Ms MacDonald, who tried to resuscitate her grandmother, said the pensioner had previously loaned Mr Darko money, but never got it back and had pledged not to do it again.

She said: “He [Mr Darko] was always bothering her. Nana did not like him.”

In another written statement Frank O'Neill, who also lived in the flats, said Mr Darko claimed to be from Ghana and was a “bit of a weirdo and always on the scrounge”.

He said he would come to his flat regularly for money and cigarettes and to ask for £2 to play on the lottery.

Later the same day the victim's body was found Mr O'Neill said he had invited him in for a smoke after feeling sorry for him.

He said the defendant was very quiet and said he was in trouble.

Mr Darko denies murder, but has admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

He was arrested by detectives at 8.57pm on November 23 last year, having been identified on CCTV leaving Mrs Doughty's flat.

Officers later seized a knife from the draining rack in the defendant's kitchen.

Mr Dry described stab wounds to the victim's face, neck and abdomen and said 'restraint' injuries to her hands suggested she had tried to defend herself by gripping the knife used in the attack.

The trial continues.