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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 October 2005, 12:53 GMT 13:53 UK
Father's murder case is dropped
Scott Pritchard
Mr Pritchard was found outside his Sunderland home
The case against a Sunderland man who was accused of murdering his 19-year-old son has been dropped.

Robert Stacey, 52, of Deerness Road, Hendon, was accused of killing Scott Pritchard in January 2004.

Mr Pritchard was found unconscious on the doorstep of his home in Lindsay Close, Hendon, and died in hospital.

Mr Stacey had denied the charge, and at a brief court appearance, the Crown Prosecution Service said there was no "realistic chance" of a conviction.

Mr Pritchard, who at the time of his death needed crutches to get about, had suffered serious head injuries.

'Maintained innocence'

At Newcastle Crown Court on Tuesday, Judge David Hodson praised the prosecution before recording a verdict of not guilty.

Outside the court, Nigel Barnes, solicitor for Mr Stacey, said in a statement: "He was devastated by the death of his son.

"Throughout the police investigation he fully cooperated with all their inquiries. He maintained his innocence during these distressing months.

"He is grateful that the CPS and police have made this fair and considered decision and hopes they will now reopen the case with a view of identifying the real culprit."

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