Murder trial delayed to allow inquiries to continue

First published in News Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by

THE trial of a man accused of murdering a shop worker in his home is going to be delayed.

Robert Baker, 24, was expected to face a jury at Teesside Crown Court early in the New Year.

But a judge has heard that inquiries into the killing of John Coates, 61, are still continuing.

Mr Barker was expected to enter a plea at a hearing today (Tuesday, December 18), but will now do so on January 25.

The trial – scheduled to last two weeks – will take place at Teesside Crown Court after that.

Mr Coates, who worked at Poundland in Middlesbrough, was found dead on September 13.

He lived in the same high-rise flats complex in Cargo Fleet Lane as his alleged killer Mr Baker.

Cleveland Police said he was last seen at his allotment, not far from his flat, four days earlier.

After he failed to turn up for work the following day, one of his brothers found him dead.

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