A THORNABY man pleaded not guilty to murder in court yesterday (Friday).

Alexander Layton appeared via video link to Teesside Crown Court and pleaded not guilty to murder and not guilty to having an offensive weapon - namely a knife.

Layton, of Shackleton Close, Thornaby, was charged with the murder of James Stokoe.

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

Previously, 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."

Layton was remanded in custody, with a trial date set at August 16, 2021.

Speaking about the delay in trial date due to the coronavirus pandemic, Judge Stephen Ashurst, said: "Every effort will be made to see if an earlier date can be found. All concerned understand the difficulties that courts are having to deal with at the moment."