Sunderland man was found badly injured in shallow grave: South Shields murder accused appear in court


Two people have appeared in court after the death of a man who was found badly injured in a shallow grave.

Darren Bonner, 24, from Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, died in hospital, two weeks after he was found by a dog walker at a beauty spot in Creswell, Northumberland, in July.

Richard Spottiswood, 33, of Canterbury Way, Jarrow, and Lucy Burn, 29, of Burns Close, South Shields, are both accused of his murder.

They were initially facing a charge of attempted murder, before Mr Bonner died.

Spottiswood appeared at Newcastle Crown Court, via video link to HMP Durham, where he pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.

Burn appeared at the same hearing, via video link to HMP Low Newton.

She was not asked to enter a plea.

Both defendants will be back in court for a further hearing on November 14.

A trial, which is expected to last around ten days, has been listed for January 8 next year.

Both defendants have been remanded in custody in the meantime.

The court heard Burn has submitted an application for bail, which will be heard by a judge at a later date.

Judge Paul Sloan QC told them: "I am going to adjourn your cases now.

"The adjournment is until a further case management hearing, another pre-trial hearing, which will be listed on November 14."