Hilda Owen murder re-trial to take place in November

Hilda Owen was found dead at her home in Skegby in 2007
Hilda Owen was found dead at her home in Skegby in 2007

A DATE has been set for the re-trial of a Skegby man, whose conviction for murder was quashed on appeal.

Peter Kenneth Smith, 47, appeared before Nottingham Crown Court on Monday and pleaded not guilty for a second time to the murder of his 71-year-old neighbour Hilda Owen .

The pensioner was found strangled and beaten over the head 29 times with a claw-hammer and screwdriver at her home in West Hill, Skegby in 2007.

Smith was sentenced to life following his trial in December 2008.

On Monday, wearinbg a thick woolly grey cardigan, grey checked shirt and blue jeans, he heard that his new trial will start on 15h November.

It is expected to last slightly longer than the month-long first hearing. The judge will be Mrs Justice Macur.

Smith listened intently in the dock throughout the half-hour hearing on Monday.

Peter Joyce, QC, will again represent the prosecution and Paul Mann, QC is expected to appear for the defence.

At the first trial the prosecution said that Smith, who worked for the Department of Work and Pensions, was in debt and made a will for Mrs Owen before her death which meant he would inherit her house.

The Court of Appeal on 24th May this year ordered a re-trial. The judges said the analysis of a bloody fingerprint found on a door handle at Mrs Owen’s home and the way that evidence was presented in court were not up to modern standards.

Police promised to carry out a review.

Judge John Milmo further remanded Smith in custody on Monday until his re-trial.