JURORS in a murder trial have heard how the gang suspected of a gangland-style execution paid for copied keys of the house where the slaying took place.

Hemwand Ali Hussain was found dead in a property on Charterhouse Street, Hartlepool, after suffering a gunshot wound to the head on September 14, 2019.

Anxelo Xhaferi, Noza Saffari, Dorian Pirija and Qazim Marku were charged with his murder and their trial at Teesside Crown Court got underway last week.

The jury heard from a man who was paid £150 to get a copy of the keys for the house where the 30-year-old was killed.

Faisal Azam told the court how he was acting as an intermediary for someone interested in buying the rental terraced house.

The witness said he picked up the keys for the house from an estate agents to inspect the property but got the keys copied before handing them back to the agent.

Mr Azam said he met Eugert Merizaj, who is still being hunted in connection with the alleged murder, and gave him the keys in Middlesbrough town centre.

Earlier in the case, Francis Fitzgibbon QC said Mr Azam was not implicated in the alleged murder but had agreed to copy the keys as he was ‘a chancer, willing to take the money, no questions asked’.

The barrister told jurors that it was the prosecution case that the gang had chosen the address to lure the known cannabis farm operator to his death.

Mr Azam secured the copied set of keys just two days before the father-of-two was shot dead in the house with a single gunshot would to the back of his head.

Forensic analysis of the defendants mobile phones linked members of the rival drugs gang to Mr Azam.

Xhaferi, 24, of Acton Street, Middlesbrough; Saffari, 39, of Park Lane, Middlesbrough; 33-year-old Pirija, of Trillo Avenue, Bolton; and Qazim Marku, 24, of West Drayton, all deny murder.

The trial continues.