Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

TRACKING DOWN A COLD-HEARTED KILLER; Background

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

TRACKING DOWN A COLD-HEARTED KILLER; Background

Article excerpt

Byline: SOPHIE BARLEY

ROBERT Baker brutally killed and robbed his quiet and private neighbour and then tried to cover his tracks by cleaning away the evidence.

But he missed a spot of John Coates' blood on a small piece of green plastic. It included a fingerprint which was forensically tested and traced to Baker.

This piece of plastic became the "fundamental" evidence in Baker's trial.

Until the very end Baker denied having any involvement in the murder.

His defence barrister, Martin Bethel asked the jury in his closing statement: "Does Robert Baker really look like a cold, calculating killer?" Yesterday the jury concluded that he did when they unanimously found Baker guilty of the brutal murder.

He savagely beat Mr Coates to the head in a succession of 15 blows in his flat in Fleet Lane, Cargo Fleet Lane.

He then took the 61-year-old's bleeding body to the bathroom and left him naked in a bath full of water.

Before leaving he stole items from the flat including Mr Coates' Xbox, Xbox Kinect, games and a computer tablet.

In the days after the callous murder, Baker worked tirelessly to clear away the evidence. He was seen leaving the flats with full bags - believed to be Mr Coates' blood-stained clothes and games consoles.

He was also spotted by a friend cleaning an Xbox controller with bleach using a toothbrush.

He tried to clean the blood away from the scene using a mop and bucket, but he left spots and splashes in the sitting room and the bathroom.

Mr Coates' body was found in the bath of his flat on Thursday September 13.

He was last seen alive on Sunday September 9. After failing to turn into work the next three days, his brother Raymond went to the flat and found his sibling's body.

It was initially thought that he had died in a "tragic accident" - falling in the bath. However during the post mortem suspicion was soon raised, when a pathologist noted the head wounds. …

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