A man accused of murdering schoolgirl Nikki Allen nearly 30 years ago has today (June 20) denied the charge.

David Thomas Boyd, 54, of Norton near Stockton, pleaded not guilty to her murder when he appeared via video link from HMP Durham, at Newcastle Crown Court.

The seven-year-old’s body was found in an abandoned building in the Wear Garth area of Sunderland after going missing near her family home in October 1992.

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She disappeared after leaving her grandparents' home and neighbours formed search parties in a desperate bid to find her.

Nikki’s body was later found in the derelict Old Exchange building a few hundred yards away, after her coat and shoes were spotted outside. She had been stabbed 37 times.

Nikki’s mother Sharon Henderson sat in the public gallery, backed by well-wishers.

She burst into tears when the charge was read out, was consoled by supporters and the court usher gave her a tissue.

Judge Paul Sloan said a High Court judge would preside over trial, estimated to last up six weeks. It will take place in either January or April.

Adjourning the case, the Judge said: “I am adjourning your case to trial. The precise trail date will be confirmed, hopefully in the next couple of days.

“In due course you will be required to provide a defence statement – a document setting out your defence to the charge that you face.

“And the document must be sufficiently detailed. If it isn’t then an inference could be drawn against you by the jury at your trial.”

He added: “You must attend future court hearings and in particular you must attend your trial – in other words leave your cell and travel to court.

“If you were refuse to do so the trial could proceed in your absence whether or not you're legally presented - and informed of the reason for your absence."


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