Teen could still face murder charge over alleged assault on Blackpool street as family face longer wait

A teenage boy could be charged with murder over the death of Blackpool man Michael Rhodes.

Thursday, 6th July 2017, 5:04 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 8:53 am
Michael Rhodes
Michael Rhodes

The 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has already been charged with grievous bodily harm in connection with an alleged attack on Mr Rhodes on Saturday May 20.

The incident happened outside the Costcutter store in Exchange Street, North Shore.

At an inquest review hearing Blackpool coroner Alan Wilson said no decision had yet been made by the crown prosecution service.

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He said a report following a post-mortem examination, carried out by Home Office pathologist Dr Alison Armour had not yet been published.

On the request of the teenager’s defence team a second post-mortem examination will now take place.

Mr Wilson said this would further delay the release of Mr Rhodes body to his family for a funeral to take place.

Recapping the details of the case Mr Wilson said the coroner’s office had been notified of Mr Rhodes death on June 11.

He said: “Potentially we have a death that was due to unnatural causes.”

A Home Office post-mortem was carried out on June 13.

Mr Wilson said: “The position is that the court is concerned that in the absence of a formal post-mortem report the Crown Prosecution Service will not be in a position todecide whether any homicide prosecution will follow.”

Formally requesting a second post-mortem examination, Steven Townley, defending the teenager said it was ‘essential’ a further examination took place.

He accepted the conditions surrounding the case were ‘unusual’, given his client was only currently facing an assault charge.

Mr Wilson said: “I see no reason to resist a second request for a post-mortem.”

Before concluding the hearing, Mr Wilson summed up the current position of the court.

He said: “We have somebody who potentially faces a homicide prosecution.

“We have a family waiting for a body to be released for a funeral.

“And we have a Crown Prosecution Service who are not in a position to make a decision either one way or the other.”

Mr Townley said: “It is entirely in the hands of the two pathologists.”

A second post-mortem examination will now be carried out on Mr Rhodes body.

The inquest into his death was adjourned.

A date for the hearing to be resumed has not yet been set.