The trial of a man accused of killing a seven-year-old girl more than 30 years ago has been put back by a day, but will proceed in mid-April.

David Thomas Boyd is accused of the murder of Nikki Allan, whose body was found with multiple stab wounds in the Old Exchange Building, in the East End of Sunderland, in October 1992.

Nikki had disappeared the previous night after leaving her grandparent’s nearby flat in the Wear Garth area to make the short journey home.

Amid a search of the area the following morning she was found inside the then derelict building after her coat and shoes were spotted. She had been stabbed 37 times.

Read more: Man denied murder of Sunderland schoolgirl Nikki Allan

The defendant, now aged 55, of Chesterton Court, Norton, near Stockton, was charged with her murder in May last year and subsequently appeared at Newcastle Crown Court, where he pleaded not guilty.

A trial, with an estimated length of six weeks, was fixed to start at the court on Wednesday April 19, but, following representations by prosecuting counsel, Richard Wright KC, it has been agreed to move it back by a day to begin on Thursday, April 20.

The Northern Echo:

Nikki Allan, whose body was found in a derelict building in Sunderland in October, 1992

During a short pre-trial hearing at the court today (Thursday February 16), at which the accused appeared by video link from HMP Durham, where he is on remand, various dates were set by The Recorder of Newcastle, Judge Paul Sloan, for submission of evidence and expert statements by both the prosecution and defence.

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He said a further pre-trial hearing could be staged if any issues arise between now and the scheduled start of the hearing.

Judge Sloan then adjourned the hearing, with the usual warning given to the defendant, that he should attend his trial at court, but if he were to choose not to leave his cell, it could proceed in his absence.

Should there be a need for a further pre-trial hearing he will be permitted to appear again by prison to court video link.