Alexander Palmer could stand trial for East Harling murder of Peter Wrighton next year

Alexander Palmer, 23, who has been charged with the murder of Peter Wrighton. Picture Facebook.

Alexander Palmer, 23, who has been charged with the murder of Peter Wrighton. Picture Facebook. - Credit: Facebook

A former soldier from Cringleford accused of the murder of 83-year-old Peter Wrighton could stand trial in February next year.

Peter Wrighton. Picture: NORFOLK CONSTABULARY

Peter Wrighton. Picture: NORFOLK CONSTABULARY - Credit: PA

A former soldier from Cringleford accused of the murder of 83-year-old Peter Wrighton could stand trial in February next year.

The body of Mr Wrighton, a married father and grandfather, from Banham, was discovered in woodland near East Harling on Saturday, August 5.

A post-mortem examination revealed he died from multiple stab wounds to the neck and head.

Alexander Palmer, 23, of Freesia Way, Cringleford, who served with the British Army between 2010 and 2015, appeared at Norwich Crown Court today, after being charged with murder.

Police conduct anniversary checks near the scene of the murder of Peter Wrighton in East Harling, No

Police conduct anniversary checks near the scene of the murder of Peter Wrighton in East Harling, Norfolk. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Palmer, who was wearing a yellow and green tracksuit, appeared via videolink from Norwich Prison and spoke only to confirm his name.

No pleas were taken during the short hearing which lasted just over three minutes.

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Chris Youell, prosecution barrister, said there would be no application for bail today, so they were seeking a remand in custody through to the plea and trial preparation hearing on September 12.

The court heard there would be “some sort of trial” in this case with a provisional date pencilled in for February 12 next year.

Norwich Crown Court. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norwich Crown Court. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

Stephen Dyble, defence barrister, confirmed there would be some kind of trial but could not expand at this stage.

Judge Stephen Holt said: “Mr Palmer, I hope you’ve understood what’s gone on this morning?

“There will be a hearing in one month’s time (September 12). That’s a plea and case management hearing when we will sort out various matters about the trial.”

Judge Holt confirmed that, at the moment, a trial date had been pencilled in for February next year. It is expected the trial might last two weeks.

Police have said The Street in East Harling remains closed whilst the investigation continues.

Detectives are also searching and forensically examining a number of locations, including at Cringleford and Dereham Road, Bawdeswell – where police confirmed Palmer was arrested – which are linked to the investigation.

Mr Wrighton, a former BT worker, has been described as a as “a lovely, gentle husband, dad and grandfather” who loved walking his dogs, Gemma and Dylan.

A statement released by police on behalf of Mr Wrighton’s family following his death, paid tribute to his “kind nature” and his “love of walking his dogs and chatting with people to pass the time of day”.