A VIGILANTE posse meted out a brutal revenge beating on a man suspected of carrying out a burglary of one of the gang's daughters.

Neil Elliot posted his 'stark and chilling' threat on Facebook just minutes after his daughter told him what had happened just before 8am on Sunday, June 9.

Within 30 minutes, the recycling company boss was rounding up accomplices to track down the man he believed was responsible.

The court heard that Elliott was so angry that someone had broken into his daughter's house that he was threatening to inflict life changing injuries to whoever did it.

The gang eventually tracked down Michael Phillips and subjected him to a brutal and sustained assault using a cosh, knuckledusters, punches, kicks and stamps.

Teesside Crown Court heard that the fatal attack took place in the victim's own home on Rydal Street, Hartelpool, last summer.

Nick Johnson QC, prosecuting, said: "At 9pm on June 10 last year a 39-year-old man, Michael Phillips, was beaten to death in his own home in a street in Hartlepool. He was attacked with a cosh, a knuckleduster, punches, kicks and multiple stamps to his head and body.

"It was a persistent beating. It begun as soon as he opened the door and he was immediately attacked.

"He was pushed against the fish tank in the living room where he was stamped upon."

Mr Phillips suffered 50 injuries including 15 rib fractures, skull and facial fractures, a punctured lung and spleen.

He said: "He posted his intent with his message on his own Facebook - 'whoever burgled my daughter's house and took her car, your life is about to change, trust me'."

Teesside Crown Court heard that seven Hartlepool men are facing a charge of murder for the attack: Neil Elliott, 44, of Briarfield Close; Lee Darby, 31, of Ridley Court; John Musgrave, 54, of Wordsworth Avenue; Anthony Small, 39, of Rydal Stree; Craig Thorpe, 36, of Young Street; Sean Musgrave, 30, Wordsworth Avenue; and Gary Jackson, 30, of The Darlings, Hart Village.

They have all pleaded not guilty to murder.

Neil Elliott also faces another charge of assault occassioning actual bodily harm for hitting another man in the face with a cosh on the same day.

The trial, which is due to last for four to five weeks, continues.