Soldier faces murder charge
A COLCHESTER soldier appeared in court yesterday charged with the murder of an “inspirational” teacher.Laurie Draper, who is stationed at Roman Barracks at the town's Garrison, is accused of killing 53-year-old Paul Butterworth at his home on Tuesday evening.
A COLCHESTER soldier appeared in court yesterday charged with the murder of an “inspirational” teacher.
Laurie Draper, who is stationed at Roman Barracks at the town's Garrison, is accused of killing 53-year-old Paul Butterworth at his home on Tuesday evening.
Mr Butterworth was found dead in his back garden in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, although police have yet to reveal how he died.
Draper, part of 13 Regiment Royal Logistics Core, appeared at East Hertfordshire Magistrates' Court in Hertford.
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The 30-year-old, dressed in all blue, stood with his head bowed and only spoke to confirm his name, age and address.
He was remanded in custody and will appear before St Albans Crown Court on March 21.
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Neighbours and former pupils have paid tribute to Mr Butterworth this week, describing him as a “wonderful, lovely man”.
Linda Howard said: “He taught all three of my children at one stage. We heard sirens on Tuesday night but did not think anything of them.
“After Eastenders we looked out and saw the police everywhere.”
“We used to see him in the garden cutting the hedge. My daughter said he was a really good teacher. Being a few doors away from where it happened is a real shock for us.
Mr Butterworth taught at Hoddesdon's Sheredes School and a 21-year-old former pupil said: “He was absolutely wonderful, a really lovely man.
“The school are in pieces about what has happened. He was an inspirational teacher and he was always there for every student.
“He was both a neighbour and a friend. He was like a cross between David Bowie and Iggy Pop.”
Ambulance crews were sent to Mr Butterworth's home but he was already dead when they arrived.
His body was then taken to the Princes Alexandra Hospital in Harlow.
An Army spokesman said: “One of our soldiers is helping police with their enquiries and he is, as with the British judicial system, innocent until proven guilty.
“The enquiry is in the hands of the police and there is no army involvement with the investigation.”
Police are still appealing for information about the incident at Mr Butterworth's home in StansteadRoad and anyone who can help should call the incident room on 01707 354 236 or speak to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.