TWO women have appeared in court for allegedly pushing past an elderly man to barge into his home.

Kirsty Marie Rank, 29, and Angela Parkinson 36, were initially accused of assault by beating, using violence to secure entry to premises and theft, relating to the incident in Chestnut Avenue, Ferryhill, on Tuesday June 30.

Ms Parkinson was also charged with blackmail when they appeared before Peterlee magistrates, on July 3.

Both women, of Newton Street, Ferryhill, denied the offences and were remanded in custody, as the case was sent to Durham Crown Court.

They appeared via video link from Low Newton Women’s Prison at a plea and trial preparation hearing at the crown court.

Judge Ray Singh said the charges appear to have now been reduced to a single count of common assault.

He told defence barristers if their clients pleaded on a basis that the assault was by way of “a push”, “it could resolve matters”.

Both counsel said they had only just been presented with the complainants’ video-recorded interview with police and wanted to scrutinise that before seeking the views of the defendants.

Judge Singh adjourned the hearing to allow that to be done, with the hope of the case resolving at the next hearing, on August 14.

Both defendants will remain in custody until that date.