A MAN has appeared in court charged with murdering his girlfriend in the West End pub where she lived after they went to London from East Lancashire.

Gareth Richard Horton, of Walmsley Street, Darwen, was arrested after the body of 22-year-old Charlotte Flannagan was found on New Year's Day in the bedroom of her fourth-floor flat above the Barley Mow pub in Duke Street, where she was a barmaid.

An inquest, opened yesterday, said Charlotte had been stabbed in the neck.

Police today revealed that the 999 call alerting officers to the incident was made from Lancashire.

The call was transferred to officers of the Metropolitan Police who attended the pub and launched a murder inquiry.

Horton, 29, was arrested in Southwark, West London. He appeared at Bow Street Magistrates yesterday where he was committed to appear at the Old Bailey on January 10.

Colleagues of Charlotte's mum, Dorothy Flannagan, confirmed she works as a practice nurse at Darwen Health Centre although declined to comment further. The family live in Melville Gardens, Darwen.

It is understood she is on leave at present. One said: "It was a tragic incident."

A man who answered the door at Horton's home in Darwen today said: "Yes, he does live here but we don't want to comment." The man was loading personal possessions into a car outside the house.

A neighbour described Horton as a gentle giant who kept himself to himself.

Police said officers were sent to the Barley Mow pub, in Duke Street, West London, at around 3.30am on New Year's Day, where they found the body of Miss Flannagan, who is believed to have been the girlfriend of Horton.

They said it appeared she was stabbed. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

A post mortem examination was held that afternoon and an inquest was opened and adjourned.

Just over an hour later, at about 4.40am, police arrested Horton in the street in Southwark, four miles away from the crime scene and he was taken to the local police station.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: "We received the call from someone in the early hours of New Year's Day regarding an incident in London. The officer who took the call got in touch with the Met and transferred the case. We are no longer involved."

She added that the locations of where emergency calls are made are automatically detected and put through to the nearest call-centre. In this case Lancashire.

She said: "The 999 call would have been made in the county."

The landlord of the Barley Mow today declined to comment.