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The body of a man found buried in the back garden of a Northampton home has been identified by dental records, an inquest has heard.

Nicholas Billingham, 42, is believed to have died from a stab wound, a brief hearing held by Northampton Deputy Coroner Hassan Shah heard.

Fiona Beal, a primary school teacher from Kingsley, Northampton, appeared in court last month charged with the murder of Billingham between October 30 and November 10 last year.

Opening and adjourning the inquest in Northampton on Wednesday, Shah said Billingham’s body was found last month at a Moore Street property.

He told the court: ‘I have a report from Richard Leigh Evans, a forensic odontologist, confirming a positive identification based on dental records.

“Regarding the provisional cause of death, I have a statement from Dr. [Frances] Hollingbury, a board-certified medical examiner, of a stab wound to his neck, pending further tests.

“I do on this basis now adjourn this inquest to September 21.”

Beal was arrested at a hotel in Cumbria shortly after midnight on March 16, leading detectives to begin a thorough search of her home.

The 48-year-old is due to appear at Northampton Crown Court for a preliminary hearing on April 19.

Eastfield Academy in Northampton, where Beal worked before his arrest, said it was “shocked and saddened” to learn of Billingham’s death, describing the incident as an “appalling tragedy that will shake our school community”.

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