John Roberts murder police interview 300 people

John Roberts John Roberts had hundreds of friends and associates, police said

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Police hunting the murderer of a man accused of abducting a 14-year-old girl have spoken to more than 300 people.

Football badge seller John Roberts was found dead at his home in Winlaton, Gateshead, on 16 December. He had last been seen three days earlier.

The Newcastle United fan died of head injuries. His family has appealed for help to find his killer.

Northumbria Police said 30 people had come forward with leads, but it still needed help to track down the killer.

'Much potential'

A statement from Mr Roberts' family said: "Whoever killed John is still out there and we would appeal for anyone who may know who did this to contact the police. John was only still young and had so much potential and life left to live.

"He will never be able to fulfil this and all we ask now is that whoever has done this is brought to justice.

"John was well known throughout the area and especially among Newcastle United supporters.

"He loved the football club and had many friends and associates through his love of football."

Det Ch Insp Andy Potts said: "John was a well known man, particularly among Newcastle United fans and he had a wide network of friends and associates.

"We've spoken to a large number of these, but there could still be people who know something and haven't contacted us."

At the time of his death police said the last confirmed sighting of Mr Roberts had been the day his court appearance was reported but they said they were keeping an open mind about the motive.

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