A NUMBER of people have appeared in court over two separate alleged murders which happened over the Christmas period.
Robert Donald is accused of killing Lee Houchin in Wallsend.
Appearing on a video link from Durham Prison, Donald listened as a timetable for the case was set out.
Newcastle Crown Court was told by Donald’s defence team there may be an issue surrounding lack of intent. A provisional trial date was set for May 13, with a time estimate of between five and seven days.
Judge James Goss QC told Donald: “Robert Donald, I’m setting a timetable whereby the case will be served by February 13.
“You must serve a defence statement in the event of you intending to enter a not guilty plea to the charge of murder.
“There will be a plea and case management hearing at this court on March 15 and on that date you will be expected to enter to your plea to the indictment.”
Donald, 29, of Lisle Street, Wallsend, was further remanded in custody until the next hearing.
Mr Houchin, 35, was allegedly stabbed to death in Hugh Street, Wallsend, on Sunday, December 23.
Meanwhile, two teenagers also appeared at the same court charged with a separate murder. Keith Honeyman, 19, of Alice Street, South Shields, and a 15-year-old boy, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, appeared at Newcastle Crown Court on a video link. Both are accused of stabbing 25-year-old David Charlton to death on Friday, December 21.
Mr Charlton was allegedly attacked at the junction of Stanhope Road and Boldon Lane, in South Shields, after leaving the Last Orders pub with his girlfriend.
He was taken to South Tyneside District Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
A provisional trial date for Honeyman and the youth was set for the week of June 10, with a three-week time estimate.
Honeyman was further remanded in custody and the 15-year-old was detained in secure accommodation.
A provisional trial date was set for May 13, with a time estimate of between five and seven days