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Knife victim found buried in garden identified by dental records, inquest finds

Forensic officers at the scene of Moore Street in Kingsley, Northampton

The body of a man found buried in the back garden of a Northampton home has been identified by dental records, an inquest has heard.

At a brief hearing held by Northampton Deputy Coroner Hassan Shah, it was learned that Nicholas Billingham, 42, died of a stab wound.

Primary school teacher Fiona Beal, of Moore Street, Kingsley, Northampton, appeared in court last month charged with the murder of Mr Billingham between October 30 and November 10 last year.

Nicholas Billingham
Nicholas Billingham is believed to have been stabbed to death (Northamptonshire Police/PA)

Opening and adjourning the inquest in Northampton on Wednesday, Mr Shah said Mr Billingham’s body was found last month at a Moore Street property.

He told the court: ‘I have a report from Richard Leigh Evans, a forensic odontologist, confirming a positive identification based on dental records.

“Regarding the provisional cause of death, I have a statement from Dr (Frances) Hollingbury, Certified Medical Examiner, of a stab wound to the neck, pending further testing.

“I do on this basis now adjourn this inquest to September 21.”

Body found in Northampton garden
Forensic officers at the scene in Moore Street, Kingsley (Jacob King/PA)

Beal was arrested at a hotel in Cumbria shortly after midnight on March 16, leading detectives to begin a thorough search of her home.

The 48-year-old is due to appear at Northampton Crown Court for a preliminary hearing on April 19.

Eastfield Academy in Northampton, where Beal worked before his arrest, said they were ‘shocked and saddened’ to learn of Mr Billingham’s death, describing the incident as an ‘appalling tragedy which will shake our school community’ .

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