A man has appeared in court and denied a charge of murder arising from the death of a student in an accommodation block in Newcastle earlier this term.

Aaron Ray was present, in the dock, at a plea and trial preparation hearing at Newcastle Crown Court today (Friday, October 28) accused of killing Jason Brockbanks, on September 27 this year.

His defence counsel, Toby Hedworth KC, said there was no reason why the charge could not be put.

When it was, the 21-year-old defendant, of Mayfield Road, South Hylton, Sunderland, pleaded not guilty.

Read more: Man arrested after 24-year-old dies at Newcastle student flats

A trial date in the case had already been set at a previous hearing and remains listed to start at the court on March 14, next year, with a five-day time-estimate.

Judge Paul Sloan, The Recorder of Newcastle, set a timetable in the case, in which the prosecution must outline its case by November 18 and a detailed defence statement must be submitted by December 16.

A pre-trial hearing will then take place at the court on December 19, with the defendant to appear via video link from Durham Prison, where he is on remand.

Asked by Judge Sloan about a possible bail application by the defendant, which was listed to be heard on Monday, Mr Hedworth said it is not, now, being pursued.

The judge, therefore, adjourned the hearing and remanded Mr Ray in custody, pending the pre-trial hearing in December.

Read more: Man still in custody as police probe murder of Newcastle student

Police were called to the Mansion Tyne accommodation complex, in Howard Street, at 4.30pm on September 27 after concern was raised for the welfare of Mr Brockbanks.

Following the arrival of emergency services, the death was confirmed of the 24-year-old Northumbria University student, from Whitehaven in Cumbria.

Police, who have assisted Mr Brockbanks’ family since his death, said both parties knew each other.

Other students in the complex, which houses undergraduates from both Newcastle and Northumbria universities, were offered counselling in the wake of the incident.

Read next:

Newcastle student murder: Sunderland man, 21, appears in court

Newcastle murder probe: 21-year-old charged after death of man in flats

Newcastle University student Jeni Larmour died from 'alcohol and ketamine'

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