Man denies stealing from dead body in Hartlepool

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A MAN has appeared in court accused of stealing the shoes, watch and an iPhone from a dad as he lay dead on the floor.

Married Christopher Picken, 32, was found at a house in Bruce Crescent, in the West View area of Hartlepool, on April 1.

Emergency Crews rushed to the house after a 999 call at 1.50pm on Easter Monday.

Mr Picken was pronounced dead at the scene and a probe was launched by detectives.

An investigation quickly ruled there were no suspicious circumstances.

But shortly afterwards, the householder, Alan Purvis was arrested accused of stealing from the body.

Purvis, 36, is accused of taking Reebok trainers, a white Ice watch and an iPhone from Christopher Picken as he lay dead.

He appeared at Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court in custody charged with theft from the person of another.

Purvis, of Bruce Crescent, pleaded not guilty.

His solicitor, David Smith, said: “The allegation is that the items belong to the deceased and he’s taken them, say the Crown.

“The location is my client’s house. He will enter a not guilty plea.”

District judge Martin Walker adjourned the case for trial at the Victoria Road court on July 24 and Purvis was released on bail until that time.

Tributes flooded in to social networking site Facebook in memory of Mr Picken, who is thought to have been married with children, following his death.

Leanne Thomson wrote: “It’s always the good people who suffer life is so unfair, knew Chris from years ago, he was a lovely lad bless him x.”

A Cleveland Police spokeswoman has said: “At this stage the death is not being treated as suspicious.”

An inquest has been opened by town coroner Malcolm Donnelly and adjourned for a date to be fixed.