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Stoke-on-Trent ‘murder’ update: Assault charge against Robert Goodwin dropped after he ‘hanged himself’

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A criminal charge against Robert Goodwin has been discontinued after he was ‘found hanged’.

The 57-year-old was due to appear at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court to enter a plea to an assault charge on Friday, October 12.

But his body was found near allotments off Leonora Street in Burslem at 1.10pm on October 11 – two-and-a-half hours before 19-year-old Nathan Bates was found dead at his home in nearby Barnfield Road.

The case was mentioned at the court yesterday when prosecutor Hugh McKee said: “The case is listed for the Crown to prove the death of Mr Goodwin. There is a certificate signed by the senior coroner for South Staffordshire on the court system.”

Tania Morris, left, Robert Goodwin, right

Hamish Noble, representing Mr Goodwin, whose address was given as Spring Crescent, Brown Edge, confirmed the defendant’s body was found hanged.

Judge Dean Kershaw said: “He is deceased and they are the end of the proceedings.”

Shocking photographs emerged last week of horrific injuries Robert’s former partner and Nathan’s mum, Tania Morris, suffered following an alleged attack.

Her mother Vivianne Morris shared the images as she demanded to know why Robert was released on bail following the incident – ‘leaving him free to kill Nathan’.

Murdered teenager Nathan Bates, of Burslem
Murdered teenager Nathan Bates, of Burslem

Vivianne told The Sun: “It beggars belief that they gave him bail. He should have been done for attempted murder.

“We need to show everyone what he did to Tania. He should have been done for attempted murder.

“Until that day they had been happy and there had been no violence over the five years they had been together. But then, something switched and he flipped.

“We would have stepped in if he had ever done anything to her before.

“He used to come around here all the time. We never had a problem with him until this happened.

“We just can’t believe that he wasn’t being held in prison.”

Floral tributes in Barnfield Road, Burslem, following the death of Nathan Bates
Floral tributes in Barnfield Road, Burslem, following the death of Nathan Bates

Staffordshire Police have confirmed both men were known to each other. They are treating Nathan’s death as murder but say Robert’s death is currently ‘unexplained’.

Detectives have still not revealed how Robert, who grew up in Fegg Hayes, and Port Vale fan Nathan died but they are not looking for a third party in connection with the deaths.

A Staffordshire Police spokesman said: “The investigation into the two Burslem deaths continues.

“Detectives are still waiting for the results of key forensic tests and we do not expect those results to be ready for another one to two months.

Tania Morris suffered serious injuries in an attack

“In the meantime we are not planning to complete any more searches and we are confident we are not looking for anyone else in this enquiry.

“The bodies of the two men have now been released to their respective families and the inquest process for both deaths will begin in due course. No further update will be provided until we have finalised all forensic test results.”

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Anyone who can assist with the investigation should call the police on 101, quoting incident number 378 of October 11.

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