THE on/off partner of a man bludgeoned to death in his own bed has told a jury how she made the grim discovery days later.

Julie Muir said she became concerned when she hadn't heard from John Littlewood, known as John D, for four days and decided to visit his home to check on him.

Miss Muir told Teeside Crown Court how she screamed and ran out of his Blackhall Colliery home when she discovered his blood-covered lifeless body in his bedroom.

The jury had heard how Mr Littlewood had been battered to death with a hammer by his friend Marty Bates after they had spent the day drinking.

The witness told police investigating the murder that she had not seen her on/off partner getting attacked when he was at his home on July 25, 2019.

She told them that that she became concerned he made no contact with her in the following days and decided to go and check on his wellbeing.

Describing what she discovered on July 30, she said: "I opened the door and I thought he had been sick, they way I would describe it was he had just fell on it.

"I lifted the sheet and that's when I found him dead – I screamed and ran away downstairs."

The detectives investigation Mr Littlewood's death asked why she had gone to his home. She told them she was concerned she had heard from him days as he usually messaged her numerous times if the had fallen out.

Miss Muir said she was not present at his home when he was attacked for the first time as she had left in a taxi.

The court had heard earlier how Mr Littlewood had been left covered in blood after Bates attacked him.

James Riley, who was in the house with his partner Donna Balfour, joined in the attack leaving the victim covered in blood.

Bates and his partner Tracey Bunney then left Mr Littlewood's home along with the other couple.

Jurors heard the prosecution say that Bates let himself into the Mr Littlewood's Blackhall Colliery home in the early hours of July 26, 2019, before launching the fatal and sustained attack on his prone victim.

Days after the alleged murder, a witness saw Balfour and Riley kicking at John’s door as Bunney and Bates stood in the street.

Bates, 31, and 45-year-old Ms Bunney, of Tenth Street, Blackhall Colliery, both deny murder and the trial continues.