COURT LATEST: Trial date set for two men accused of murder of Sunderland teen Kieran Williams

Two men charged with the murder of a Sunderland teenager who had been missing for six weeks face trial later this year.

By Karon Kelly
Wednesday, 8th June 2022, 12:42 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th June 2022, 12:42 pm

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Ben Cook, 19, and Louis Michael Hackett, also 19, are accused of killing Kieran Williams.

The 18-year-old had been reported missing from his home in Sunderland on Monday, April 18, and his body was found in the Pallion area of the city, near the Northern Spire Bridge, on Thursday, June 2, after extensive police searches.

Cook and Hackett appeared at Newcastle Crown Court this morning, via video link to prison, having first appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates Court earlier in the week.

Kieran Williams.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

They were not asked to enter pleas to the murder charge during the short hearing.

Judge Paul Sloan QC listed a trial, which could take ten days, to start on October 31.

A pre-trial hearing will take place on July 5.

Judge Sloan told the pair: "I am adjourning your case to a further pre-trial hearing, that will be listed before me on July 5 this year and you are likely to be linked in on that date.

"I have also fixed your trial date. The trial is now fixed on October 31 this year, with a time estimate of ten days."

No bail applications were made during the hearing.

Cook, of Fordfield Road, and Hackett of Fordenbridge Square, both Ford Estate, Sunderland, were remanded in custody.

Two men – aged 20 and 28 – and one woman – aged 46 – who were also arrested in connection with the investigation remain on police bail pending further enquiries.

Detective Inspector Matt Steel, who led the investigation into Kieran’s disappearance, said: “Now that charges have been brought against these two suspects, I would ask the public to please refrain from any speculation – both on social media and in the wider community – that could jeopardise the legal proceedings.”