A MAN charged with the murder of a neighbour has appeared in court today.

Gordon Meale, 50, is alleged to have killed James Scaife, known as Jimmy, on Wednesday morning, in Shildon, County Durham.

No application for bail was made on behalf of Mr Meale, of Sunnydale, Shildon.

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No plea was entered and Mr Meale did not speak during his brief appearance at Teesside Magistrates' Court.

The body of Mr Scaife, 56, also of Sunnydale, was found on an isolated path near allotments.

It is believed that the father-of-two was taking his dog for an early morning walk when he suffered fatal head injuries.

Mr Meale was remanded in custody until Thursday, January 7, when he will appear at Teesside Crown Court, Middlesbrough.