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Jilted lover, who ‘was on bail for attacking his ex-girlfriend bludgeoned her teenage son to death

Jilted lover, 57, who 'was on bail for attacking his ex-girlfriend bludgeoned her teenage son to death as he slept before killing himself a day before his court appearance'

  • Robert Goodwin was due at Stafford Crown Court the day after the tragedy
  • He dragged teenager Nathan Bates out of bed and 'beat him around the head'
  • Nathan's family want to know why Goodwin was allowed to roam the streets

By Terri-ann Williams For Mailonline

Published: 11:05 EDT, 19 October 2018 | Updated: 11:22 EDT, 19 October 2018

An 'evil coward' who was on bail for attacking his ex-girlfriend 'slaughtered' her teenage son as he lay asleep, before later killing himself.

Robert Goodwin is believed to have used a key to enter the house in Stoke-on-Trent as 19-year-old Nathan Bates slept.

He dragged teenager from his bed and savagely bludgeoned him to death. He then walked to a nearby allotments and took his own life, leaving police and Nathan's mother Tania Morris to make the grisly discovery hours later.

19-year-old Nathan Bates (pictureD) was killed by Robert Goodwin

Neighbours said that Tania and Goodwin had a stormy relationship.

Goodwin, 57, had previously attacked Tania and had appeared before Stoke Magistrates Court for allegedly breaching his bail by threatening the pottery worker, the day before the tragedy.

He was then due to attend Stoke Crown Court on Friday on a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Now the teen's devastated family are now looking for answers as to why he was freed from court to kill.

Police are now appealing for the public's help to piece together what happened in the hours leading up to and after the killing and suicide.

Nathan's grandmother Marjorie Bates described Robert Goodwin as 'an evil coward'.

The widow said: 'He and Tania went out together for about three or four years. I only met him a couple of times, but I didn't like him. He looked like a bully.

Robert (left) had previously attacked Tania (right) and was due in court the day after the tragedy 

Robert (left) had previously attacked Tania (right) and was due in court the day after the tragedy

'Nathan was a lovely lad, he was never any trouble. He'd pop round here to see me, especially since his grandad died 18 months ago.

'Nathan lived with his mum after she split up from his dad Andrew, but a couple of years ago he moved out. He didn't get on with Robert.

'He and his dad bought a house together and had done it up. He lived there most of the time, but on the odd occasion he would sleep at his mum's.

Goodwin (left) and Tania (right) had been in a relationship for 2/3 years 

Goodwin (left) and Tania (right) had been in a relationship for 2/3 years

'It was just bad luck he was there on the morning Robert decided to let himself in. He must have known Tania wasn't in because her car wasn't on the front, and Nathan didn't have a car. So why he went round there I can only guess.

'He'd been threatening Tania and the police had been called a couple of times. About a week before he was arrested but they let him go. No one could understand it.'

Mrs Bates was aware that he was due to attend Stoke Crown Court on Friday 12 October.

Nathan (pictured) only stayed at his mother Tanya's house every so often and lived with his father

Nathan (pictured) only stayed at his mother Tanya's house every so often and lived with his father

'I don't know if it was because she had kicked him out or if he found out Tania was seeing someone else, but he hit her and tried to gouge out her eyes.

'She was in a bad way and have to have quite a lot of time off work. She had only been back a couple of days when Nathan was killed.

'The police contacted her at work and she had to go to her house to let them in. She obviously sensed something had happened, she went to the top of the stairs and saw a knife.

Tributes had been left outside of the house by friends and family of Nathan

Tributes had been left outside of the house by friends and family of Nathan

'She pointed the police to the bedroom and said, 'You'd better go in there'. They struggled to open the door because Nathan was lying dead behind it, he'd been dragged out of bed and beaten around the head.'

Goodwin's body was found just after lunchtime that same day. He was found hanging from a tree in woods next to an allotment he kept just a few minutes' walk from the murder scene.

'It's terrible, it's something you could never have imagined,' said Mrs Bates.

Detectives outside the property where Nathan Bates was killed by Robert Goodwin

Detectives outside the property where Nathan Bates was killed by Robert Goodwin

'The man who did that to Nathan is nothing but a coward, an evil coward.'

The widow said Nathan and his dad 'were more like brothers than father and son'.

She added: 'Andrew is in bits, he's really struggling. He's lost his only son and his best mate and like the rest of us, he wants to know how the killer was free to roam the streets.'

Police confirmed both men were from Stoke-on-Trent and were known to each other.

Officers carrying out follow-up enquiries discovered Nathan's body in a house less than a mile away at around 3:50pm later that day.

Detectives say they are treating Nathan's death as murder, but said Robert's death is currently 'unexplained'.

One close neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: 'It's just horrible, I've not been able to sleep since it happened.

'I heard some screams earlier in the day, but I wasn't too sure where they had come from.

'The next I knew the road was full of police and we were being told that Nathan had been killed.

'From what I know he was slaughtered in his bed, apparently the room was covered in blood. It's just too terrible to think about, poor lad.'

Another neighbour described him as 'a tattooed lunatic' who was arrested two months ago following a bust up at the house in which he allegedly assaulted his then partner.

The neighbour added: 'I only knew him as Rob, but I didn't like him at all. He was aggressive and they were always fighting.'

Neighbour John Ball, 61, said: 'Nathan was a lovely lad and we've known him since they moved here when he was little. He was well spoken and I've seen him around in the pub a few times when he turned 18. He was such a nice lad, polite, well-mannered and he always spoke to me. '

Floral tributes have been left outside the neat semi-detached house by friends and neighbours along with football shirts of Nathan's favourite team Port Vale.

One read: 'I can't believe you have gone. We will miss you.'

Post-mortems have now been completed on both bodies and the results are being analysed.

Detective Chief Inspector Jason Everett, senior investigating officer for Staffordshire Police, said: 'The investigation into the two men's deaths continue and any information you might have, no matter how small or insignificant, could be useful in our efforts to confirm the exact series of events that took place.'

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