Sex offender denies murdering teenager

A convicted sex offender today denied the kidnap, rape and murder of teenager Ashleigh Hall whom he allegedly met on the internet.

Peter Chapman, 33, is accused of strangling the 17-year-old childcare student, of Darlington, after posing as a younger man and befriending her on a social networking site.

At a hearing at Teesside Crown Court today, he also pleaded not guilty to failing to notify police of a change of address, as required by the sex offenders register.

Ashleigh's body was found dumped in a farmer's field near Sedgefield, County Durham, in October.

Chapman was originally charged with manslaughter.