A trial date has been confirmed in the case of a man accused of a fatal stabbing at a North East industrial estate one morning last month.

Alder Willis, 68, of Allanville, Camperdown, North Tyneside, today (Monday April 29) denied both the murder of Andrew Darn and possession of a bladed article, a knife, at a plea hearing at Newcastle Crown Court.

Appearing by video link from Durham Prison, where he is detained on remand, the defendant spoke only to confirm his identity and to enter his not guilty pleas to the two charges.

The Northern Echo: Andrew Darn aged 35


Judge Paul Sloan, The Recorder of Newcastle, then set a case timetable to culminate in a trial, with an estimated duration of up to seven days, starting at the court on Monday August 19.

The prosecution must submit its evidence in the case by May 20, with the defendant’s signed defence statement to be made available to the court four weeks later.

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Judge Sloan said the defendant can attend a pre-trial further case management hearing also by video link, on July 26, but he ought to be present for the trial, little more than three weeks later.

Mr Darn, 35, a father-of-three, from North Shields, was pronounced dead from stab wounds at the scene, on the town’s Tyne Tunnel Trading Estate, shortly before 9am on Wednesday March 27.

Emergency services were summoned to the trading estate following reports of a disturbance at 8.40am that day, where members of the public, followed by ambulance personnel, tried in vain to save Mr Darn.