Two men accused of murdering a Sunderland grandfather have appeared in court.
Nicholas Rought, 45, of Princess Street, Shiney Row, and Stuart Smith, 42, of no fixed address, spoke only to confirm their names at the hearing at Newcastle Crown Court on Monday September 30.
Also due to appear was Paul Tate, of Cambridge Road, Silksworth, Sunderland, however the 48-year-old was found dead in his cell at Holme House Prison in Stockton by prison staff at 5.45am on Friday September 27th.
Paramedics attended, but he was pronounced dead at 8.26am.
The circumstances surrounding the death remain unclear. Police and prison authorities have now launched an investigation.
John Elvidge QC said: "Paul Tate was found dead in custody, is the information I have received, on Friday morning last week."
Mr Elvidge said that the case of the other two defendants would proceed and they are expected to enter their pleas at a hearing at Newcastle Crown Court on December 10.
The men are accused of the murder of John 'Jonty' Hall, a grandfather and father-of-two, of Burn Terrace, Shiney Row, Sunderland.
Mr Hall died as a result of multiple injuries.
The 46-year-old's body was found by a dog walker in West Rainton on September 15.
Rought and Smith appeared via video link from HMP Durham where they are being held in custody.
A ten-day trial has been scheduled for March 17.
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