Newton Poppleford murder trial postponed until September

PUBLISHED: 12:09 12 June 2020 | UPDATED: 12:14 12 June 2020

The scene of the alleged murder in Newton Poppleford. Ref shs 02 20TI 7067. Picture: Terry Ife

The scene of the alleged murder in Newton Poppleford. Ref shs 02 20TI 7067. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

The trial of a man accused of murdering a scrap dealer in Newton Poppleford has been postponed until September because of delays caused by the Covid-19 crisis.

Geoffrey Pearce, 47, was found dead in a burned-out caravan on January 9, 2020.

Lewis Finch, 31, formerly of Montpelier Road in Exmouth, was due to appear at Exeter Crown Court on Monday, July 6.

Mr Finch, now of Briseham Road in Brixham, has pleaded not guilty to the murder.

Judge Peter Johnson heard that both prosecution and defence had encountered delays because of the pandemic.

Forensic reports needed by the prosecution have not arrived yet and a psychiatrist has not been able to see Mr Finch.

Restrictions at Exeter Prison have prevented the defence from carrying out full consultations with him.

There could also be problems hosting a trial with a full 12-person jury under social distancing rules.

The case has been re-listed for September 28 and Mr Finch’s custody has been extended until that date.


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