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The Newton Aycliffe pub murder trial is drawing to a close IG News

breaking News:

Richard Smith-Slater fatally knocked out Craig Gill moments after whipping the 61-year-old with a dog leash in a city center bar.

The 33-year-old brutally punched his alleged victim four times as he tried to stop the accused leaving Blakes bar in Newton Aycliffe.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Mr Gill died days after he was attacked on July 8 last year.

Northern Echo: Craig GillCraig Gill (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Nick Dry, closing the prosecution’s case, said the defendant took a sneaky opportunity to deliver a ‘sentence’ because he believed he was the only one in the bar before darting from the premises.

“None of us needed to be here. It didn’t have to happen,” he said.

“A man was murdered, murdered, says the prosecution, in circumstances that are so completely absurd that it is impossible to believe.

“Beated to death in such a brutal way. For what? Arguing about a dog. It’s hard to believe that this kind of disagreement can bring us all here.”

Mr Dry said the defendant was “initially” proud of what he had done when he knocked out Mr. Gill until “the consequences of what happened dawned on him”.

Police footage taken at the time of his arrest caught him telling officers he had “diluted an ad***head” in the pub and “didn’t do anything wrong”.

Northern Echo: A forensic scientist working at Blakes Bar in Newton AycliffeA forensic scientist works at Blakes bar in Newton Aycliffe (Image: TERRY BLACKBURN)

Owen Edwards KC, representing the accused, told jurors his client claimed he was acting in self-defence when Mr. Punched Gill in the face.

He said: “He started to defend himself against aggression and only used the kind of force he felt needed to be used.

“There was no evidence of any intent to cause really serious harm.”

Mr Edwards rejected the prosecution’s claim that Smith-Slater was acting as a one-horse town sheriff when he punched Mr Gill four times in the head.

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Earlier, the jury heard that there had been some tension between the pair after Mr. Concerns were expressed to Gill about the defendant’s Staffordshire bull terrier puppy wandering around the pub.

The lawyer reminded the jury that Mr. Gill told his client they should shoot the dog before threatening to knock it out.

Smith-Slater, of Bury Road, Newton Aycliffe, pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and alternative charges of murder.

The judge will sum up the evidence on Monday before the jury retires to consider its verdict.

The trial continues.

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