A MAN has appeared in court accused of attempted murder after it is alleged he tried to drive at an innocent passer-by.

Paul Robert Hughes was arrested after the alleged driving incident in Easington Colliery on the night of Tuesday June 2.

He appeared at Durham Crown Court via video link from the city’s nearby prison facing charges of attempted murder and dangerous driving.

It is alleged that he tried to kill a passing male pedestrian during the course of the brief driving incident, while at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta, on Station Road, Barwick Street and surrounding roads.

After Hughes was identified to the court, his counsel, Dan Cordey, asked that the charges were not put to his client.

Mr Cordey said following a lengthy conference with the defendant, prior to the hearing, he felt it was a case where mental health reports ought to be drawn up for the court and a suitable psychiatrist could be instructed.

Asked by Judge James Adkin if that was to address the defendant’s fitness to plea or as a potential psychiatric mitigation, Mr Cordey said: “He is likely to be fit to plead.”

But he said one of the officers involved in the arrest that night speculated that the defendant may have had some sort of psychotic episode that night.

“His behaviour was described as being very bizarre that day.”

Judge Adkin agreed to adjourn to allow preparation of the psychiatric report and remanded the 45-year-old defendant, of Barwick Street, to remain in custody.

A provisional trial date of November 2 was agreed, with a further case management hearing on October 23.