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Court in uproar at murder hearing

There was uproar in court yesterday when a man appeared on a charge of murdering Nikki Allen, aged seven.

Moments after Sunderland magistrates remanded George Heron, 23, in custody, many of the people packing the public gallery rushed forward to try to grab him. Policemen ringing the dock grappled with them as other officers ushered Mr Heron away. A tearful woman sitting close to the dock twice spat at him as he left the court.

Graham Dowell, for the prosecution, said that Mr Heron was accused of murdering Nikki, of Wear Garth, Sunderland, between 6 and 9 October. Her body was found in a disused warehouse. She had been beaten to death.

Mr Heron, also of Wear Garth, was in the dock for about two minutes. He spoke only once, when asked to confirm his identity. There was no application for bail.