A former animal slaughterer attempted to behead his landlord while he was still alive following a row over rent, a court heard.
Prosecutors say Karl Bestford stabbed Simon Meech 11 times with a kitchen knife at the flat he rented from him before partially severing his head “with considerable skill” and wrapping parts of his body in black bin liner.
Newcastle Crown Court heard Mr Meech had arranged to meet his tenant at his first-floor flat in Rayleigh Grove in Bensham, Gateshead, on July 28 2012 to collect the £395 monthly rent.
Shortly after Mr Bestford called his brother and told him: “I’ve done something stupid. I’ve stabbed my landlord. I think he’s dead.”
Pathologist Dr Mark Egan said the person responsible for the attack stabbed Mr Meech several times, some with “severe force”.
Dr Egan also said Mr Meech’s heart was still beating when the “assailant” began severing the head.
He told the court: “It was done with considerable skill.”
Mr Bestford, 35, said he killed Mr Meech in self defence after the landlord, who owned eight properties, attacked him with a knife.
He denies murder.
Prosecutor John Elvidge QC said Mr Bestford had debts of at least £11,000 and owed Mr Meech money at the time of his death. Mr Bestford claimed he had paid the rent.
The court heard that following the attack Mr Bestford was seen getting into Mr Meech’s Vauxhall and drove away. Mr Meech's body was found lying in the kitchen with his lower legs wrapped in black bin bags.
Mr Elvidge QC said Mr Bestford was driving on the A69 on the way to see his wife in Cumbria when he saw a police car with blue flashing lights behind him.
Mr Bestford was seen driving the car at a "very high speed" before turning off on a slip road on a road to Corbridge in Northumberland. He then pulled over and phoned the police, the court heard.
He told the call operator he was arguing with his landlord about rent and said Mr Meech attacked him with a knife. Mr Bestford said he took the knife from him and "stabbed and stabbed and stabbed him".
The court heard Mr Bestford had dried blood on his hands when he was arrested.
The trial, expected to last a week, continues.
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