A MAN has has made his first appearance before a crown court judge accused of the murder of a much-loved father in Shildon.

Mark McGuiness is alleged to have stabbed Rory Boyce to death in his own home in Shildon, County Durham, on March 30.

The 51-year-old, of Thornhill Gardens, Shildon, made his appearance before Judge Paul Sloan via video link.

The charge was not put to him and there was no application for bail.

The judge adjourn the case to a further pre-trial hearing on April 29.

Mr McGuiness was remanded in custody pending the hearing.

Rory's family has previously paid tribute to the 31-year-old, who was originally from Portsmouth.

In a statement given to police, they said: “Rory was a loving, quiet lad who would do anything for anyone.

“He was a loving partner, son, brother and a fantastic dad."