Man jailed for life for murder in Fenton

A Stoke-on-Trent man has been jailed for life for the murder of his friend of 40 years.

Raymond Till, of Victoria Road in Fenton, was found guilty of killing his housemate, 69 year-old Keith Tunstall, at their home on Saturday 27 June 2015.

He was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 18 years.

At around 1:55 pm on 27 June 2015 officers arrived at the address on Victoria Road after a report from colleagues in the ambulance service of a suspicious death. Officers were led to the bathroom to the partially clothed body of Mr Tunstall in the bath. 

Till and Mr Tunstall had known each other for around 40 years and had shared a house for two years. Neighbours described hearing raised voices coming from the property frequently with Till always the aggressor. They also told officers Mr Tunstall was often seen with bruises and injuries which he claimed had been caused accidentally when questioned. 

On the evening before the discovery of Mr Tunstall's body, Till claimed he left the house about 6 pm and did not return until 5:30 am the next morning to find the back door open. He went to bed and left the house again at around 10:30 am to go to his son's house. When he returned at 12:30 pm he discovered the bottle of vodka he had bought for Mr Tunstall was untouched. When he failed to find him in his bedroom, he claimed he checked the bathroom and found him in the bath with the water still running. He then rang for assistance. 

The court heard the initial post mortem examination of Mr Tunstall proved inconclusive. However, subsequent examination showed the cause of death was drowning. Broken ribs and severe brain injuries, which we were likely to have been sustained in the 12 - 36 hours preceding his death, were also discovered. 

Detective Inspector Glyn Pattinson, Senior Investigating Officer, said: "Despite 40 years of friendship, it appears Till had been violent towards Mr Tunstall on a number of occasions. The brain and other injuries found on Keith's body showed he'd been subjected to violence on more than one occasion. 

"Keith and Till lived a chaotic lifestyle.  Alcohol played a big part in their relationship and probably played a part in Keith's death.  Keith had become increasingly detached from his family but, by taking his life, Till has callously and cruelly deprived his children of their father." 

The family of Keith Tunstall said: "We would like to thank all the witnesses that came forward for our Dad. We would also like to thank the Police, and everyone involved in the case, for their tireless work."

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