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    28 Mar 2016

    Father charged with murder of intruder who died in hospital from injuries sustained in beating after breaking into daughter's room

    A homeowner has been charged with murder after he allegedly confronted a burglar who broke into his house on Saturday morning and left the intruder with fatal injuries.
    Police say Richard James Slater, 34, known as Ricky Slater, broke into a house in Cleary Street in the Newcastle suburb of Hamilton early on Saturday.
    Benjamin Batterham, 33, who lives at the home with his young family, is believed to have found Mr Slater inside his house about 3.30am.
    Mr Batterham and a 32-year-old friend became involved in a fight with Mr Slater, which continued outside on the street
    Neighbours say they were woken by the sound of loud bangs and people running. 
    Police received a call that three men were fighting and arrived to find the two men had "detained" Mr Slater.
    But a short time later he lost consciousness, police said. 
    He was treated by ambulance paramedics and taken to John Hunter Hospital in a critical condition. 
    Mr Batterham was treated in hospital for facial injuries.
    He was charged with recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm and was released on conditional bail. 
    But about 11.30am on Sunday, Mr Slater's life support was switched off.
    A few hours later, Mr Batterham handed himself in to Newcastle police station and was charged with murder.
    He was refused bail by police and is due to appear in Newcastle Bail Court on Monday. 
    The 32-year-old man has spoken to police, but has not been charged. 
    Mr Slater was released from jail in December after successfully appealing against a four-year jail term for aggravated break and enter and fraud offences. 

    He had served more than 20 months before the Court of Criminal Appeal ruled his convictions should be quashed due to errors made by the trial judge. 
    Mr Slater had been convicted of a ram raid at Sandgate adult store Nauti & Nice in November, 2012, in which cash and a quantity of synthetic drugs were stolen.  
    He was acquitted on appeal and released from custody after the Crown conceded a number of errors were made in the trial, including the use of CCTV footage. 

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