'October' trial for Nikitta Grender accused

The alleged killer of mother-to-be Nikitta Grender is likely to stand trial at the start of October, a judge said today.

Carl Whant, 26, of Bettws, Newport, South Wales, was charged with the murder of the heavily pregnant 19-year-old on Saturday.

The former soldier, who worked as a nightclub bouncer, is also charged with a separate offence of child destruction.

He appeared before High Court judge Mr justice Griffith Williams at Cardiff Crown Court today in a preliminary hearing.

Prosecutor David Wooler said: "He was charged on Saturday 12th February with the murder of Nikitta Grender on February 5th, and an offence of child destruction in relation to a child she was carrying on the occasion."

Whant, who appeared at Caerphilly Magistrates' Court yesterday, looked clean-shaven and relaxed today.

He is the second cousin of the victim's boyfriend, Ryan Mayes, 18, the father of the unborn baby girl, who had already been named Kelsey-May.

Miss Grender was found stabbed to death in the bedroom of her burnt-out flat in Broadmead Park, Liswerry, Newport.

Yesterday, angry family and friends of Miss Grender shouted and swore at him as he was sped away from court in a prison van.

Mr Mayes and other family members looked on from the court's public gallery today in a more subdued atmosphere.

The judge remanded Whant in custody until a plea and case management hearing on Friday May 13.

Before adjourning proceedings, he told the court that a "very provisional" date for trial would be the start of the Michaelmas term.

That was interpreted by barristers to mean the beginning of October.