Two teenage girls accused of murdering a Hartlepool woman in her home appeared in court.
The girls, aged 14 and 15, who cannot be identified due to their young age, are accused of killing Angela Wrightson, 39, whose body was discovered at her home in Stephen Street, Hartlepool, in December.
They appeared at Teesside Crown Court yesterday afternoon when lawyers discussed various matters ahead of a trial set for next month.
The girls were due to enter pleas during the hearing, but that did not happen as reports from specialists are still due to be completed before that can be done.
Judge Simon Bourne-Arton urged all specialist reports to be done as quickly as possible in time for the trial, which is due to be heard by Mr Justice Globe on June 24 or 29 and is expected to last three to four weeks.
Judge Bourne-Arton said: “This case involves two very young children. It’s a very grave offence [it’s] most important that all matters are properly put before a jury.”
The trial is due to hear from a number of witnesses and is expected to include local CCTV footage.
He and all barristers removed their wigs for yesterday’s hearing and the girls were allowed to sit on the back row of the lawyers’ benches instead of in the dock.
A dock officer sat beside each girl with a responsible adult in between them.
The girls, who are being kept in separate secure accommodation, were remanded in custody until the case is next mentioned on June 8.
A post-mortem examination found Ms Wrightson had suffered substantial injuries and died as a result of blood loss.