Gateshead Murder: Two Years On

16 December 2014, 10:27 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

Police have renewed an appeal for information after the death of John Roberts who was murdered in his home in Gateshead two years ago.

Officers have carried out over 3,000 house to house enquiries and spoken to in excess of 5,000 people since the murder inquiry was launched after the 32-year-old's killing on Sunday December 16th 2012.

However, nobody has yet been brought to justice for his death.

John, a father of one, was a committed Newcastle United fan and used to sell pin badges close to St James' Park on match days. As a result he was affectionately known as 'John The Badge'

Detective Superintendent Roger Ford said:
"We are still searching for the person, or people, who killed John Roberts and in the last two years we have spoken to thousands of people as part of the investigation. We have carried out enquiries throughout Gateshead and spoken to many people who knew John.

This is still very much an active enquiry and we are continuing to follow new leads and are re-examining evidence everyday. We continue to appeal to the public for any information that could help us solve John's murder. We want to hear from anyone with any information, even after two years, and would urge them to come forward and speak to us.

I'd like to praise the Roberts family for the courage they have shown since they lost John, they have been fully supportive of the police and the investigation and they just want to know who killed their son.

I want to let them know, and send a message to the wider public as well, that we will not stop looking until we find those responsible for John's murder and bring them to justice."

In a statement, the Roberts family said:
"We would like to thank the police for their hard work over the last two years and we still hope that someone out there knows something that might help them catch the person, or people, who killed John.

We miss John, and at this time of the year it's particularly difficult for the family. All we want is to see justice be done. I'd ask that if anyone has any information, even after two years, to come forward and speak up."


UPDATED 17th March 2014

A man arrested by police investigating the murder of a Gateshead man has been released without charge.

32 year old John Roberts was found with head injuries in his home in Park Terrace, Winlaton, Gateshead, on 16th December 2012.

Nine people arrested during the inquiry have all been released without charge.

The latest of them, a 43-year-old man, was arrested in January on suspicion of murder.

Northumbria Police said he had now been released with no further action.

In December, Northumbria Police said they had spoken to more than 5,000 people during the 12 months of the investigation into the death of Mr Roberts, who sold football badges for a living and was known as John 'The Badge' Roberts.

Det Supt Roger Ford, of Northumbria Police, said:
"Information from the public may prove to be key with this investigation and one lead or one piece of information could be a vital breakthrough we need to locate John's killer."

He urged anyone with information, no matter how insignificant they thought it might be, to share it with the police.


UPDATED 10th January 2014

A man's been arrested and bailed over the murder of John 'The Badge' Roberts in Winlaton, Gateshead more than a year ago

On Sunday, December 16, 2012, John 'The Badge' Roberts, who was 32, was found dead inside his home in Park Terrace, Winlaton.

Enquiries into his death have been ongoing since and at around 7am this morning, Thursday January 9th, a 43-year-old Newcastle man was arrested on suspicion of murder.

Officers are continuing to appeal for information into the unsolved murder and anyone with any information is asked to contact detectives on 101 ext 69191 or by ringing Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111


UPDATED 16th December 2013

Police are still looking for the killer of John 'The Badge' Roberts - a year after he was found dead in his Winlaton home

On Sunday December 16, 2012, John 'The Badge' Roberts, who was 32, was found dead inside his home in Park Terrace, Winlaton.

One year on from his murder, detectives are continuing to appeal for the public to come forward and help them catch his killer.

Detective Superintendent Roger Ford said:
"It's been 12 months since John Roberts was murdered and the investigation to catch his killer is very much ongoing.

In the last 12 months we have carried out over 2,500 house to house enquiries and spoken to in excess of 5,000 people as part of the investigation and we will continue to work until we find who killed him.

We still need the public's help and would urge anyone who knows anything, people who might have heard anything about John's murder, or anyone who thinks they could help us solve this murder to get in touch with us."

Detectives are hoping that DNA found at the scene could prove key in finding out who killed him.

John was found dead in the living room of his Winlaton,Gateshead home having suffered a serious head injury.

Forensic enquiries carried out at the scene identified DNA evidence.

Analysis of this DNA showed that it belonged to a female. Detectives are keen to identify this female, as she could have vital information that could help solve the murder.

Det Supt Ford added:
"We are checking the DNA with national databases and it's only a matter of time before we get a hit.

From what we found at the scene we believe that she was involved in John's death in some way.

She could hold the key to us finding out who killed John Roberts and it's vital that we find out who she is."

People only need to give us a name and because of the DNA evidence we can quickly and easily eliminate people from our enquiries. We just need the information and we will act on it."

The impact that John's murder has had on his family is immeasurable and his mother Jennifer Roberts explains the effect his death has had on the Roberts family, she said:
"John was my eldest son and he was brutally murdered in his home one year ago.

He grew up within a stable close-knit family and was a much loved member of that extended family.

John was an intelligent boy. He showed he had a lot to gain from life and as a young teenager he was buying and selling badges and football programmes. He wrote a fanzine for Newcastle United and was always showing his entrepreneurial skills.

John chose his own way of life as an adult.

There are many other parents who have lost a child so you will know how we feel today.

There is a person, or people, out there in our community who took John's life. He was only thirty two years old.

The law in our country doesn't hand down the death penalty for anyone, but whoever is responsible for John's murder could decide to do it again. They have got away with a year of freedom so far. Next time it might be your child.

Please help bring them to justice.

John is gone. He has been denied a future. He will never have the opportunity to see his daughter grow up. If you know anything, please help me and talk to the police."

In June 2012, six months after he was killed, police filmed and released a video reconstruction of John Roberts' last known movements in an attempt to jog people's memories.

Officers will be carrying out enquiries in the Park Terrace area of Winlaton around the time of the anniversary of the death speaking to local residents about John's death and appealing for information - one year on from his murder.

Anyone who has any information into the unsolved murder of John Roberts is asked to contact police on 101 ext 69191.

Information can be passed on anonymously through the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.