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Mystery fingerprints found in flat of man who was bludgeoned to death
A MURDER trial jury has heard how 50 mystery fingerprints were found in the flat of a man who was bludgeoned to death.
Forensic scientists examined about 400 marks lifted from the scene of John Coates' killing in the tower block in Middlesbrough.
Among the prints were those of police officers, paramedics, undertakers, the victim's relatives and murder suspect Robert Baker, 24.
Mr Baker - a neighbour of Mr Coates in the Cargo Fleet Lane flats - is said to have beaten the shop worker to death last September.
The jury at Teesside Crown Court heard today that 50 of the 400 fingerprints could not be matched to any known person.
Expert Mark Hagan said some of the prints were found on packages and paperwork and could have come from people outside.
However, defence barrister, Martin Bethel, QC, said others on doors, door frames and a birdcage were made by people inside the flat.
Mr Bethe asked Mr Hagar: "They have been put there by somebody who has been inside - not from an outside source?." He agreed.
"So they are marks left by someone who has been in the flat and we are not able to identify who they are?" Mr Hagar said: "That's correct."
The jury of six men and six women has heard how Mr Baker had a computer games console and a tablet computer stolen from the flat.
The naked body of 61-year-old Mr Coates was found in water-filled bath by his brother after he had failed to turn up for work.
Prosecutor Nicholas Lumley, QC, said he had been "savagely and persistently beaten" with a hammer or similar heavy weapon.
This afternoon, the jury was expected to hear from Home Office pathologist, Dr Nigel Cooper, who examined Mr Coates after his death.