AN alleged murder victim was stabbed to death in his car, a court heard.

Alexander Layton made his first appearance at Teesside Crown Court accused of murdering Thornaby dad James Stokoe.

The 33-year-old did not indicate a plea during the hearing and is due to stand trial later this year.

His alleged victim, Mr Stokoe, a 40-year-old dad, was discovered fatally injured in his car following an incident on Trenchard Avenue, Thornaby, on Friday afternoon.

A trial is expected to last four to five days, but no date has yet been set and no pleas have yet been entered to the charges.

Layton, of Shackleton Close, Thornaby, appeared in court via prison video link throughout the short hearing.

The case was adjourned to the next hearing on August 14.

No application was made for bail.

Over the weekend, Mr Stokoe's family paid tribute to him, saying: "James was a much loved husband, father, son and son-in-law.

"He was a treasured friend to so many people. James was a wonderfully kind and gentle person. There are no words to express our sadness."