Man charged with killing widow after bogus caller incident in Sunderland

Newlands Avenue, Tunstall, Sunderland
Newlands Avenue, Tunstall, Sunderland
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A man has been charged with the manslaughter of a widow after she died months after a bogus caller incident at her home.

Joan Barnett was taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital after an incident at her home in Newlands Avenue in Tunstall, on August 18, 2014.

The 87-year-old died on November 11 that year.

Police said at the time they were investigating the disturbance at her home as a bogus caller incident.

William Levi Gales, 44, of Borrowdale Street, Hartlepool, has been charged with manslaughter and conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation. Phillip Robert Orton, 54, of Windemere Road, Michael Anthony Gales, 27, of Brenda Road and Lee Davidson, 30, of Chepstow Walk, all Hartlepool, have been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.

They are due to appear before Sunderland Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, April 26.

Northumbria Police have said the charges are in relation to four offences involving vulnerable people in the region. Sunderland coroner Derek Winter has held regular pre-inquest reviews of the case while the police investigation has been ongoing.

At the latest hearing last month he said: “Inquiries are being carried out by the police and I’m informed by the officer in charge that there is a file of evidence, and there are certain lines of inquiry still outstanding.

“Once there is further advice through the Crown Prosecution Service, a decision will be taken in respect of a charge which may follow.”