Killers of Sunderland father sentenced

02/04/2014

Two Sunderland men have been sentenced today for savagely killing a man whose body was subsequently discovered in woodland in Durham.

Nicholas John Rought, 45, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 19 years for murder after being found guilty at trial, with an additional four year sentence to be served concurrently for admitting perverting the course of justice. His co-defendant, Stuart Bycroft Smith, 42, was sentenced to 11 years for manslaughter after being found guilty at trial, with a 4 year sentence to be served consecutively for admitting perverting the course of justice, bringing his total to 15 years. 

The charges against the pair relate to the killing of John Hall, 46, of Herrington Burn, Sunderland, in September of last year. During the trial, the jury heard how Rought and Smith had carried out a brutal attack against Mr Hall during an evening of drinking at an address in Shiney Row, Sunderland.

Gerry Sydenham, Head of the Crown Court Unit at CPS North East, said: "We are pleased with the sentences passed on Rought and Smith today. The attack that they carried out on John Hall prior to his death was both sustained and savage.

"Perhaps what is most troubling about this case is that both men had claimed to be close friends of Mr Hall for some time, before launching their unprovoked attack on him in September of last year.

"After killing John, the pair then took every opportunity to hide what they had done; cleaning the scene of the crime, removing the body, lying to police and denying that they had killed John throughout both the investigation and trial. Despite their attempts, police and prosecutors used all available evidence to piece together the events of that night and demonstrate clearly to the jury the part that both men had played in Johns death.

"Through their actions, Rought and Smith have caused untold devastation to those who loved John Hall and I would hope that his family and friends can gain a measure of closure from the sentencing of this vicious pair."