Middlesbrough man did not fight back in response to beating

David Leyland was giving evidence at the Teesside Crown Court trial of Dean James Williams, who is accused of the murder of Ian MacNeil.

The, now, 50-year-old defendant is accused of carrying out the prolonged beating of Mr MacNeil at the ground-floor bedsit flat of a mutual friend, near Middlesbrough town centre.

In his interview with police, on December 13, 2021, a few days after Mr MacNeil’s death, Mr Leyland said Williams, known as ‘Deano’, got to the flat about half an hour after Mr MacNeil, who he only knew as ‘Macca’, on a cold Sunday night in late November 2021.

Read more: Middlesbrough drug user died in hospital two weeks after bedsit attack

Mr Leyland said Macca got to the flat earlier and had some drink and ‘gear’ (heroin) on him after a good day begging, as it was the Christmas lights switch on which had brought crowds into the town centre.

He said Macca gave him some of his heroin, but when Williams got to the flat with another acquaintance he was angry and began arguing and shouting.

Mr Leyland told the interviewing police officer: “He felt he (Macca) should have sorted him out as he used to ‘look after him’.”

At some point after that he said Deano struck Macca in the face.

Mr Leyland said after this, Macca told Deano he could have what was left of his cider and some ‘gear’, but his offer was rejected.

The witness told police that Deano then sprayed Macca in the face with what turned out to be only water from a rinsed-out shower gel bottle, and then launched some heavy punches to his face.

He then used an empty litre bottle of wine to strike Macca in the ribs and said he was “going to have to kill him”, picking up a sleeping bag, and urging him to go outside.

Read more: Man denies killing 46-year-old on Middlesbrough street

Mr Leyland said Deano then picked up a heavy-duty walking stick which he offered to Macca, saying: “Go on, be a man.”

He said Macca did not take up the offer, so Deano then folded over the walking stick and struck Macca a hard blow to the head, which caused a vibration.

He said there was a flow of blood from Macca’s head and Deano told him: “You never see me right”, to which Macca replied: “You never ask me.”

Mr Leyland said Macca then went into the kitchen to clean up the blood but was followed by Deano, who was apparently going to assist him.

But he said Deano came out and, “made a show with the last of his (Macca’s) heroin.”

Mr Leyland said Macca then came out of the kitchen, looking pale, and left the flat, saying: “See you lads”.

Deano told the others present that he used to look after him (Macca), implying he deserved the beating, but Mr Leyland told his police interviewers: “He didn’t (deserve it).”

Mr Leyland said Deano told them that if the police get involved they were to say it was “self-defence”.

But Mr Leyland said: “It didn’t sit well with me, because it wasn’t self-defence. He didn’t fight back at all.”

The court has heard that after staggering from the bedsit, in Southfield Road, Mr MacNeil was found badly injured by a passing police officer.

Read next:

Dean Williams to stand trial accused of murder at Teesside Crown Court

Man denies murder after 46-year-old fatally wounded in Middlesbrough

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He was taken to hospital suffering what emerged was a “devastating brain haemorrhage”, from which he died on December 10.

Mr Williams, of Southfield Road, denies a charge of murder.

The trial, expected to run for another fortnight, continues tomorrow (Thursday, July 27).





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