Analysis of phone calls made by two accused killers showed both were at the burial site of their alleged victim either at the time of his death or in the weeks afterwards, a court has heard
Cell-site analysis of locations where phone calls were made by accused pair Ben Cook and Louis Michael Hackett were outlined to the trial jury at Newcastle Crown Court.
Digital services expert Jack Perkin analysed phone calls and messages made from the phones of the two accused and the victim, Kieran Williams, before and after his disappearance, on April 18, Easter Monday, last year.
It was almost six weeks later that the body of the 18-year-old was found in a makeshift grave in a secluded area behind trees, on former industrial land near to the Northern Spire Bridge, on the southern bank of the River Wear, in Sunderland.
The court heard he had suffered multiple stab wounds and an attempt had been made to set his body alight in the grave, although it appears not to have taken hold.
Mr Perkin said both Mr Hackett’s phone and that of the victim were at the burial site location in a period after 7pm on April 18, when the prosecution alleges that the killing took place.
No incoming or outgoing calls were made or received until a message was sent from Mr Hackett’s phone at 7.24pm, which the prosecution claims was actually sent by Mr Cook, as his phone was left at his home, on aeroplane mode.
Mr Perkin said a message sent by Mr Hackett to Mr Williams’ phone at 7.49pm, claiming he was looking for him at Park Lane, in Sunderland city centre, was “more likely” to have been made from the Pallion area, not far from the burial site.
He also said by the time Mr Cook’s phone was reactivated out of aeroplane mode, at 8.14pm, he was, by then, back in the Ford Estate area of Sunderland, where he lived, rather than at the grave location.
But the court heard that in the first three days of May both accused men’s phones were located in the area of the burial site, implying they revisited it, still several weeks before it was found by police.
Nineteen-year-old Mr Cook, of Fordfield Road, and his 20-year-old co-accused, of Fordenbridge Square, both Sunderland, each deny the charge of murder.