Teenager accused of two murders is remanded in custody by court

Police searching near the scene where Nahid Almanea's body was found on Salary Brook Trail in Colche

Police searching near the scene where Nahid Almanea's body was found on Salary Brook Trail in Colchester. - Credit: Su Anderson

A 16-year-old boy accused of killing two people, allegedly stabbing one more than 100 times, was remanded in custody when he appeared in court today.

The teenager was arrested on Tuesday at the same riverside footpath in Colchester where he allegedly stabbed a student to death last year.

He allegedly killed Saudi student Nahid Almanea, 31, knifing her 16 times as she walked along the Salary Brook Trail towards the University of Essex on the morning of June 17 last year.

She was wearing a Muslim gown called an abaya when she was attacked.

It is alleged that three months earlier in March the youth murdered James Attfield, 33, who was stabbed more than 100 times in a park in the town.

The two deaths sparked fears a killer was randomly striking after police said there were “striking similarities” in the murders but nothing to link the victims.

Mr Attfield, who had a brain injury after being hit by a car four years before his death, was found fighting for his life in the town’s Castle Park on March 29 last year. He died later in hospital.

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The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates Court charged with the two murders.

He was arrested after allegedly being found with a lock knife at the Salary Brook Trail and is also charged with possessing an offensive weapon.

His parents, who sat in the public gallery, both shed tears as they heard the charges read out.

The teenager, from Colchester, looked relaxed as he was brought in to the dock by two uniformed dock officers.

Wearing a grey tracksuit top and bottoms and glasses, he smiled at his parents as he was led in and looked relaxed throughout the six-minute hearing.

He briefly smiled as his father waved to him but his parents both choked back tears as the murder charges were read out.

In a quiet voice he spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth and answered “yes” when the court clerk asked him if he understood the proceedings.

Chairman of the bench Paul Hole remanded the youth in custody.

He will next appear at Chelmsford Crown Court on Monday.