Murder suspect in front of crown court judge after pensioner killed in attack

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A man has appeared in front of a crown court judge for the first time accused of the murder of an 86-year-old woman in a “horrendous” attack.

Vasile Culea was arrested after Freda Walker was killed in a violent incident at her home in Langwith Junction, Shirebrook, near Bolsover in Derbyshire, which also left her 88-year-old husband Ken with critical injuries.

A concerned neighbour found the couple at the property in Station Road at 9am on January 15.

Former district councillor Ken Walker with his wife Freda Walker (Bolsover District Council/PA)
Former district councillor Ken Walker with his wife Freda Walker (Bolsover District Council/PA)

The 33-year-old suspect appeared at Derby Crown Court in a blue sweatshirt on Tuesday and followed proceedings through a Romanian interpreter.

The charges allege Culea murdered Mrs Walker on January 14 and attempted to murder Mr Walker on the same date.

Derbyshire Police previously said one of their leading lines of inquiry was that the incident was a suspected burglary.

Mr Walker, a town councillor, remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital.

Culea spoke only to confirm his name during a short hearing and was not required to enter any pleas.

Remanding the defendant into custody, Judge Nirmal Shant QC told Culea: “As far as this case is concerned, it will be tried on October 4.

“Prior to that there will be a further hearing date on March 25.

“On that date you will be expected to tell the court how you intend to plead, guilty or not guilty.

“In the meantime you’re remanded in custody.”

Culea, of Grove Road, Church Warsop, Nottinghamshire, will appear in front of the same court and judge on March 25.

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