Batley Carr man accused of drug dealer's murder

A BATLEY Carr man is standing trial for the murder of a Leeds drug dealer.

Cannabis dealer Christopher Elliot, from Bramley, was battered to death in his Leeds flat with weapons including a bottle of champagne, a brick and a dumb-bell, jurors at Leeds Crown Court heard.

His burning body was found in woodland off Roundhay Road in Leeds on November 20 2006.

The prosecution alleges that at least two people took part in the fatal attack on Mr Elliot at his home in Borrowdale Crescent.

Prosecuting, Graham Hyland QC said Marlon Small, 25, of Albion Street, Batley Carr, and Anthony Pyke, 27, of Wyther Park Place, Bramley, were both involved in Mr Elliot's murder.

Mr Hyland also said a third man, Leon Elliot, no relation to the murdered man, helped Small and Pyke dispose of items linked to the killing, including clothing and a Samurai sword blade belonging to Christopher Elliot.

Mr Hyland said forensic tests suggested Mr Elliot was attacked as he sat on his settee and then was dragged into his hallway and towards the front door.

A full, bloodstained bottle of Bollinger champagne was found in Mr Elliot's living room.

The prosecution allege that Mr Elliot, when either dead or unconscious, was taken from his home to the woods in a van.

Evidence suggests his body was dragged from the road though the woods and set on fire.

The alarm was raised when two nearby residents spotted a fire in the woods and on investigation, discovered the burning body.

The court heard how the van allegedly used to move Mr Elliot's body was seen at the home of a man called Livingstone Fleming, in Wellhouse Road, Gledhow, on the day of the murder.

Mr Fleming, who is not involved in the trial, is the uncle of Small.

Witness Paul Howard told the court he was driving past Christopher Elliot's home on the day of the murder, and noticed a large red van parked on the driveway.

He said: "I noticed it because it looked too big to fit the driveway. It was backed right up to the door.

"As I drove past I saw a man walk past the side of the van and get into the front seat. I couldn't see his face because he had a coat with a hood with a fur trim up. I

remember this because I said to my wife, 'How can he drive a van if he's got his hood up like that?'"

He said the van was gone when he drove past again, about 40 minutes later.

Small and Pyke deny murder.

Elliot, 30, of Baldovan Place, Potternewton, denies assisting offenders.

The trial continues.