A MAN has appeared at York Magistrates’ Court today accused of murdering an 87-year-old pensioner in her home in an attempted burglary.

Peter Anthony John Harris, 33, is also alleged to have assaulted Elsie Mowbray’s son at her home in Victoria Court, off Leeman Road, York, on New Year’s Day.

He is also accused to have carried out two other robberies on December 31 and January 1.

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Mrs Mowbray died in the hours leading up to Harris’s appearance before the court. She was taken to York Hospital with a head injury on New Year’s Day after she had allegedly disturbed a burglar.

Harris, of no fixed address and formerly of Calf Close, Haxby, spoke only to confirm his name and age during the brief hearing.

He is charged with the murder of Mrs Mowbray, attempting to rob her and assaulting Richard Mowbray.

He is also charged with robbing another woman in Swann Street, off Nunnery Lane, York, on New Year’s Eve, and of robbing a man in Turpin Court, off Piccadilly, shortly after the alleged murder, also on New Year’s Day.

Magistrates sent all the charges he faces to Leeds Crown Court where he will appear tomorrow, and was remanded in custody.

After being taken to York Hospital during the afternoon of New Year’s Day, Mrs Mowbray was discharged from hospital the next day.

But she was later re-admitted and by Tuesday, the day Harris was arrested, her condition was described as critical and she died earlier today (Wednesday).