A trial date has been fixed for a man accused of killing a woman who died after an alleged assault.

Stephen Todd appeared at Newcastle Crown Court today (Friday, March 22) accused of the murder of Melissa Eastick, in Sunderland, on Tuesday, October 17, last year.

It followed a report made to police from the ambulance service after concern was raised for a woman at an address in the Grangetown area of the city, shortly before 7.15am that day.

Emergency services attended at the property on Stockton Terrace and found the casualty, 36-year-old Ms Eastwick, had suffered serious injuries, consistent with an assault.

She was pronounced dead at the scene and a major investigation team from Northumbria Police began inquiries, treating her death as a potential murder.

The Northern Echo: Man appears at Newcastle Crown Court accused of the murder of Melissa Eastick,

The 41-year-old defendant, who was one of two men initially arrested on suspicion of murder, was charged with the alleged offence on Tuesday (March 19), before going before South Tyneside magistrates, the following day.

His case was sent to the crown court, where Todd made his appearance today via video link from Durham Prison, in which he is detained on remand.

The murder charge was not put to him during a short hearing before Judge Robert Adams, but a trial date was agreed by prosecutor Paul Cleasby, defence counsel Toby Hedworth and the court, with a start date on Monday, August 12, and a potential duration of up to ten days.

A plea hearing will take place at the court on Wednesday, April 17.

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Judge Adams remanded the defendant, of Howick Park, Monkwearmouth, Sunderland, to remain in custody until the plea hearing.

But the judge said the defendant should be produced at court for that hearing.

A 38-year-old man, also arrested on suspicion of murder and released on bail during the police investigation, has previously been told he will face no further action.