A MAN died after being held captive for several hours and repeatedly stabbed with a rusty machete, a court has heard.

David Teague was subjected to a prolonged and brutal assault inside Robert Askew’s house in Esh Winning, County Durham, on Saturday, April 24, this year.

Mr Askew, also known as Ercle, is accused of murdering the 33-year-old and of the false imprisonment and assault occasioning actual bodily harm against Chloe Richardson.

Miss Richardson, whose mother was in a relationship with Mr Teague, was in the room throughout the fatal attack but unable to escape because the defendant had removed the door handle, Newcastle Crown Court was told.

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Opening the trial today, Prosecutor Simon Kealey QC said the reason for fatal attack appeared to be Mr Askew’s adverse reaction to Mr Teague wanting to see some cannabis plants he was growing.

“This seemingly minor issue was amplified by a cocktail of illicit drugs taken by the defendant,” he said.

The court heard that the two men became acquainted a few weeks earlier through their girlfriends.

On April 23, Mr Askew had arrived unannounced at another address, where the two women, Mr Teague and Miss Richardson were drinking cider and drugs were in use.

At some point that night or early the next day, the men and Miss Richardson went to Mr Askew’s house, in Wood View.

Miss Richardson stopped at a shop on the way and when she got to Mr Askew’s home, they were taking cocaine.

She told police that “Ercle went schizo” after a line of cocaine and began accusing her of inviting people into his house and the pair of trying to “tax him”.

She said he spoke of seeing people’s shadows in his front room which were actually his own reflection in a mirror and that he believed people were upstairs, but that nobody else was inside the property.

She said Mr Askew pushed Mr Teague onto a sofa and made her sit in a chair, took the inside handle off the door and pushed a large table against her so she couldn’t leave and at one point cut her leg with the machete.

Mr Askew allegedly went into the kitchen and came back with a machete, with a dirty and rusted 33cm blade, along with a 20cm kitchen knife.

Referring to Miss Richardson’s evidence, Mr Kealey said: “Robert Askew drew the curtains and a few minutes later he started jumping on David, in her words ‘torturing him a bit’.

“He opened the curtains and said ‘everyone who walks past will see what is happening and what I’m doing to you’.

“He went on to say David Teague was going to get chopped up.”

Miss Richardson said the David Teague was shouting for help and for an ambulance but that she was unable to reach him or her phone.

“She feared what Robert Askew had said – that every time she moved he would chop David Teague,” said Mr Kealey.

He said Miss Richardson could not bare to watch as Mr Askew struck Mr Teague with the machete “non-stop for many hours”.

In a police interview, which was played in court, Miss Richardson said: “I had my head on the table so I couldn’t watch what was happening to David. I could hear every time the knife went, cracking on his back.

“When Ercle’s mates turned up I quickly looked at David to see if he was breathing, his eyes were still on me as he was dead.

“I got out the window but was scared to leave a leg in, in case he chopped us.”

The court heard that two of Mr Askew’s friends arrived at the house and asked what was going on when they looked through the window.

One of them called 999 and managed to get inside the house and, at the instruction of the operator, began CPR.

When he tired he urged Mr Askew to take over and, after initially standing still and “tripping out”, he briefly tried to resuscitate Mr Teague.

Medics, including two Great North Air Ambulance Service doctors, attended the scene but after a short while it became clear Mr Teague had passed away.

When arrested Mr Askew told police: “I didn’t do it, I tried to pull him round."

Mr Kealey told the jury that a post-mortem revealed Mr Teague had 60 recent external injuries, at least 14 of them caused by the machete.

He said: “He wasn’t only stabbed but punched and kicked or stamped, it caused multiple areas of bruising and he sustained six fractured ribs.

“Some of his injuries were to his hands and arms, they were caused as he tried to defend himself.

“As a result of his injuries he lost consciousness and the ability to resist further attack.

“He lost a significant quantity of blood and it was a combination of those multiple injuries that was ultimately the cause of his death.”

Mr Askew, 35, admits manslaughter but denies murdering Mr Teague.

His legal team is expected to use the defence of diminished responsibility, saying he has a mental disorder.

The prosecution will argue that Mr Askew knew the cocktail of cocaine and amphetamine he consumed would affect his emotional stability and behaviour, based on previous episodes.

The trial, which is expected to last at least two weeks, continues.


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