Man accused of murder gives not guilty plea

Simon Stewart at Wakefield Magistrates Court 16/04/2013
Simon Stewart at Wakefield Magistrates Court 16/04/2013
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A man will face trial over the murder of a 31-year-old musician who was found dead outside a flat in Normanton.

Simon Stewart pleaded not guilty to murdering Ryan Carruthers at Leeds Crown Court.

Stewart, 21, of Castleford Road, Normanton, is accused of killing Mr Carruthers at a flat on Smirthwaite View on Sunday, April 14.

After entering his plea the Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC said Stewart would face trial later this year.

Stewart was remanded in custody until the start of the trial, which is expected to take place in October.

Mr Carruthers was found dead on a balcony at Smirthwaite View flats.

An inquest into his death was opened in May by Wakefield Coroner David Hinchliff.

A post mortem found he died from multiple stab wounds.

The inquest was adjourned pending the outcome of the court case.

Leeds Utd fan Mr Carruthers was an unemployed, single man who lived at Pontefract Road, Knottingley, but his family, including his mother and two siblings, live in Normanton.

His best friend Anthony Leach, also of Normanton, was in court yesterday to hear Stewart’s plea.

Mr Leach, 31, said his friend of 20 years was a passionate musician, who had played guitar for indie rock band Dirty Twister.

He said Pontefract Crematorium was “packed” during a funeral service in May and friends and family were still distraught by his loss.

He said: “I had known him since I was 10 years old and we did lots together. I still can’t believe he is not here.”