Man found buried in Northampton garden had stab wound, inquest hears

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

Nicholas Billingham, 42, is believed to have died from a stab wound, a short hearing held by the assistant coroner for Northampton, Hassan Shah, was told.

Fiona Beal, a primary school teacher from Kingsley, Northampton, appeared in court last month charged with murdering Billingham between 30 October and 10 November last year.

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

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

“In relation to the provisional cause of death, I have a statement from Dr [Frances] Hollingbury, a registered forensic pathologist, of stab wound to the neck, pending further tests.

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

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

The 48-year-old is due to appear at Northampton crown court for a pre-trial hearing on 19 April.

Eastfield Academy in Northampton, where Beal worked before her arrest, said they were “shocked and saddened” to hear of Billingham’s death, describing the incident as an “appalling tragedy that will shake our school community”.

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