Man on trial for murder seen cleaning games console with bleach (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Man on trial for Middlesbrough murder seen cleaning games console with bleach
A MAN standing trial for battering a neighbour to death was seen using bleach to clean a games console allegedly stolen during the murder, a court heard.
Robert Baker was scrubbing the Xbox with a toothbrush in a friend’s flat just days after John Coates was killed.
The 61-year-old was found naked in his bath in his flat in Fleet House, Cargo Fleet Lane, Middlesbrough, several days after he was last seen alive.
Mr Baker, 24, who lived in the same block of flats, has pleaded not guilty to murdering the quiet shop worker.
Today, Jamie Freer told Teesside Crown Court that his friend had called at his flat in early September last year with the games console, games and a tablet computer in carrier bags.
The witness said Mr Baker asked if he could use the kitchen in his flat after they had been chatting for five minutes.
After following him into the kitchen to make a cup of coffee, Mr Freer said: “I saw him putting stuff back into the bags including a Xbox controller. I saw bleach and toothbrushes on the side. I think he was cleaning the stuff with it.”
The pair met up several times over in the following days after Mr Baker left the games console, equipment and tablet computer at his friend’s flat.
Mr Freer told the jury that on one occasion, following the discovery on Mr Coates’ battered body, Mr Baker told him that he thought the police were looking to blame him for the murder after he told officers that he had given a communal key back to Mr Coates just before he was killed.
“He said he had been interviewed three times by the police,” he said. “He said he thought he was going to go down because they were putting the blame on him.
“During the conversations we had when he was saying he was going down, he looked really nervous.”
During cross examination defence barrister Martin Bethel put it to Mr Freer that he hadn’t mentioned the bleach incident during the first interview with police but only mentioned weeks later.
Mr Bethel told the jury that his client had written to Mr Freer from prison and claimed their relationship soured as a result.
Mr Freer said it was because he didn’t want anything like that (the criminal investigation) around his newly born baby.
After being charged with murder Baker got Facebook page messages saying “Hope you get what you deserve' and 'I hope you die in prison’, the court heard.
The trial continues.