A PHARMACIST appeared in court on Monday morning to deny the murder of his wife.

Mitesh Patel, 37, is alleged to have killed his wife Jessica at their home in the Linthorpe suburb of Middlesbrough.

Mr Patel appeared at Teesside Crown Court for the ten-minute hearing on a live video-link from Durham Prison, and pleaded not guilty to the charge.

A trial is to take place on November 13 in front of High Court judge, Mr Justice Goss.

Pharmacy owner Mr Patel, of The Avenue, Linthorpe, spoke only to confirm his name, enter his plea and to say he could see and heard Judge Simon Bourne-Arton, QC.

Nine members of Mrs Patel's family were in the jury box, while two men in the public gallery - believed to be relatives of Mr Patel - sat among three detectives.

Mrs Patel, 34, worked at the Roman Road Pharmacy her husband owns, which is not far from the couple's semi-detached home.

The property was at the centre of a Cleveland Police probe after the emergency services were alerted to an incident there shortly before 8.30pm on May 14.

The killing sparked a huge investigation, bringing in experts from outside the force area, and a large area of the street was cordoned off.

Police would only say that Mrs Patel suffered "serious injuries" and died at the scene, refusing to give more information in case it compromised the inquiry.