A 'MAN mountain' accused of murdering a Darwen woman has made a brief Old Bailey appearance.

Gareth Horton, 29, of Walmsley Street, Darwen, denied stabbing to death Charlotte Flanagan, 22, a former Blackburn with Darwen Council employee, who had beein working part-time at the Barley Mow pub, Duke Street, London.

The court was told that 6ft 7ins Horton and Miss Flanagan were friends in Blackburn for three years before she moved to London.

She was found dead in her room at the pub on New Year's Day following a party, which Horton had been invited to. A carving knife had been plunged through the victim's neck.

Judge Giles Forrester adjourned the case until June 21 for a directions hearing in which Horton will be asked to enter a plea.

A provisional trial date was fixed for September 30. The judge called for psychiatric reports on Horton.