A man has denied taking part in an ammonia attack which led to the death of a householder answering a late-night knock at the door at his home.

Kenneth Fawcett, 33, of North Shields, is alleged to have been one of two people who were present at the doorstep of an address in Wrekenton, Gateshead, when ammonia was sprayed into the face of Andy Foster, at 11pm on Sunday, August 20.

Mr Foster, 26, of Eighton Terrace, was taken to hospital, where he later died from the effects of the attack.

The Northern Echo: Pair accused of the murder of ammonia attack victim Andy Foster on doorstep of his Gateshead home,

Two men, Mr Fawcett and co-accused 32-year-old John Wandless, were later arrested on suspicion of Mr Foster’s murder and charged.

Read more: Gateshead: Police launch murder investigation after Wrekenton assault

Both appeared for a plea hearing in the case, via video link from prison in Hull, at Newcastle Crown Court this afternoon (Monday, October 2).

The charge of murder was put to Mr Fawcett, who pleaded not guilty, with the issue of identity said to be the likely issue in the case.

Following a request by counsel for Mr Wandless, of no fixed abode, the charge was not put to him as he is the subject of a medical examination as to his fitness to plead.

A trial date has already been set, for Monday, February 5 at the court, with a ten-day time estimate.

Read more:  Two men charged with murder over suspected ammonia attack

Judge Paul Sloan, the Recorder of Newcastle, set a timetable for delivery of evidence in the case, with the prosecution outline to be submitted by October 17 and full defence statements, if Mr Wandless is deemed fit to plead by then, on November 14.

A hearing will be staged on October 18 over the issue of fitness to plead, following the submission of medical reports on Mr Wandless.

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If he is not considered fit to plead a further case management hearing will take place on November 17.

Judge Sloan then set a date of Friday January 12 for a pre-trial review, ahead of the trial, on February 5.

He warned both defendants that if either had committed any offence or offences arising from the allegation, then the sooner the court is informed it would be better for them and the less severe any sentence would likely to be.

Both were remanded to remain in custody in the meantime.

Read next:

Two charged with murder after Gateshead ammonia attack death

Two in at court charged with Gateshead suspected ammonia attack murder

Picture of victim in Wrekenton murder probe released

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In a statement issued by Northumbria Police, following Mr Foster’s death, his family paid tribute, saying: “He was our only son, as well as a loving and supportive partner, grandson and cousin, and was particularly closed with his grandad, who was very special to him.

“We are absolutely devastated and heartbroken beyond words that we have sadly lost our boy.

“Andy still had the whole life ahead of him and we are struggling to come to terms with the fact he is no longer here with us.”