A MAN has today denied a charge or murder arising from an alleged Christmas Day knife attack at a residential property.

Appearing at a hearing at Newcastle Crown Court, via video link from Durham Prison, where he is on remand, Adam Jenkins pleaded not guilty to the murder of Simon Birch.

Mr Birch’s death was confirmed at the scene of the alleged attack at a house in Sunderland Road, in the village of Newbottle, near Houghton-le-Spring, into the early hours of December 26.

The 39-year-old was the father of two teenage daughters.

Mr Jenkins, of Sunderland Road, who was arrested at the property, was subsequently charged with murder and possession of a bladed article.

Only the murder charge was put to the 35-year-old defendant at today’s hearing, before The Recorder of Newcastle, Judge Paul Sloan.

Nick Dry, prosecuting, told the hearing that the second count, of possessing a bladed article in a public place, is being reviewed by the Crown, after consultation with the police, as, “the entirety of these events took place within the perimeter of a private property”.

Following discussion with Mr Dry, and defence counsel Tyrone Smith, Judge Sloan adjourned the hearing for a trial on the murder count to start at the court on Monday June 13, but with a time estimate of one-week, possibly “tipping into” a second week.

The timetable was set for preparation for the trial, with the Crown to present its case by February 15, and the defence statement to be submitted exactly a month later.

A further case management hearing will then be staged at the court on Friday March 18.

Judge Sloan remanded the defendant to remain in custody, to be produced via the video link again for that hearing.

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated County Durham Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on newsdesk@nne.co.uk or contact 01325 505054