Man appears in court accused of Hartlepool pensioner's murder

Norma Bell.

Norma Bell.

A date has been set for the trial of the man accused of murdering Hartlepool foster mother Norma Bell.

The body of Mrs Bell, 79, was found in her home in Westbourne Road, on April 2, following a fire.

Police launched a murder inquiry after a post mortem examination found Mrs Bell did not die as a result of the fire.

She had lived in the house for 27 years, and had fostered more than 50 children, as well as having three children of her own.

Gareth Dack, 32, of Windermere Road, Hartlepool, is charged with the murder of Mrs Bell, and arson.

He was due to stand trial last month, but the case couldn't go ahead because forensic inquiries had not been completed.

Teesside Crown Court heard the case is now listed to be tried on January 12, next year.

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton remanded Dack in custody.