Jury hears defendant look sick when he was told a murder victim had been discovered (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Jury hears defendant look sick when he was told a murder victim had been discovered dead in his Middlesbrough flat
A JURY has heard how a man charged with murder went pale and looked like he was going to be sick when he was told the victim’s body had been found.
John Coates was found battered to death in his bath several days after he had last seen alive in his block of flats on Cargo Fleet Lane, Middlesbrough, in September last year.
The 61-year-old suffered severe head injuries after being beaten to death with a hammer.
Teesside Crown Court heard several witnesses say they saw defendant Robert Baker looking sweaty and nervous in the days following the murder.
Liz McQueen, who lived in the same block of flats as the pair, said she told him of the grim discovery when she spoke to the 24-year-old defendant on September 17 while they were in a lift.
She said: “He looked like he was going to be sick. I thought he had taken the news really badly like he knew him really well.”
She added: “He said they (the police) may want to speak to him because he was the last person who had seen and talked about a key or something. I didn’t take much notice at the time.”
Under cross examination, from defence barrister Martin Bethel, she denied embellishing her version of events.
PC Chris Lambert told the jury that Mr Baker looked nervous and was sweating when he spoke to him while carrying out door to door inquires in the flats on September 18.
He said: “He began to sweat and was very polite to us, which began to raise my suspicions. He kept referring to us as officer – it was as if he was trying to befriend us.”
Mr Baker denies murdering the 61-year-old in his flat sometime between September 9 and 13 last year.
The trial continues.