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Gang Convicted Over Murder of North Shields Dad
Two people have been convicted of the murder of Jimmy Prout. Two others have been found guilty of causing or allowing his death.
Jimmy Prout, 45, thought the group were his friends but they turned on him and eventually dumped his lifeless body on wasteland just 100m from his home.
Ann Corbett, 26, and Zahid Zaman, 43, were convicted of murder, having previously admitted perverting the course of justice.
Myra Wood, 50, and Kay Rayworth, 56, were cleared of murder but convicted of causing or allowing the death of a vulnerable adult, having also admitted perverting the course of justice.
A jury at Newcastle Crown Court heard that the group of five from North Tyneside had a strange relationship which had developed an almost "cultish dimension''.
They were told that a series of events in late 2015 created tensions that led to a number of serious assaults against Mr Prout, which included him having his teeth knocked out with a hammer and chisel.
Paul Greaney QC, prosecuting, said:
"In effect, over a period of time, Jimmy Prout was not just mistreated, he was tortured. In the end, this conduct was to cause the death of Jimmy Prout."
Mr Greaney said Mr Prout died on February 9 2016, and his body was dumped on wasteland where it began to decompose and was partly eaten by animals.
The group then allegedly set about covering their tracks as well as fleecing his bank account, asking people if they had seen Mr Prout as they pretended to look for him.
Zaman, who uses a wheelchair and was the leader of the group, was described as vengeful and controlling and was determined to get his own back after he thought Mr Prout had been involved in a theft against him.
The jury were shown CCTV images, often taken from cameras Zaman had on his house, of the worsening condition of Mr Prout as the assaults continued.
Footage from October 18 2015 shows him walking and jogging. But the next clip, from February 5 2016, showed him staggering along, being pushed by Corbett, before slumping on a fence.
Lastly the jury saw footage from 9.47pm on February 6 2016 in which all four defendants are seen with Mr Prout. He was in a "dreadful condition'', supported by Corbett and Rayworth, as they walked him to number 75.
That was the last time he was seen on any footage and it is alleged he remained there until his death on February 9.
Mr Prout was also posting pictures of his injuries on his own Facebook account at the time, with words such as "My bodie hurt'' and "My sholder hurts''.
Following the seven-week trial, Mr Justice Dove said sentencing would take place on June 27.
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