A judge is to hear an application to join a murder indictment with one for burglary following the death of a frail pensioner who was savagely beaten by an intruder.
Scott Melville had been expected to enter pleas to burglary and robbery charges when he appeared at Warwick Crown Court on Monday.
But prosecutor Theresa Thorp pointed out that there was to be an application to join it with a new indictment alleging the murder of 91-year-old Sydney Pavier.
Melville, 38, who is from Leamington but of no fixed address, had originally been charged with burglary at Mr Pavier’s home in Gordon Street, Leamington, and inflicting grievous bodily harm.
It was alleged that he and possibly another person had broken into the frail 91-year-old’s home and savagely beaten him about the head as his home was ransacked.
The break-in was said to have taken place some time between September 9 and when the pensioner was found unconscious on his bed by a relative a week later.
But Melville was later charged with murder following the death of Mr Pavier in hospital on October 28 – seven weeks after the alleged attack.
Glyn Samuel, defending, said: “The account given by Mr Melville is that he did enter the premises as a trespasser with someone else he had encountered.”
But Melville’s case is believed to be that it was the other person who had suddenly attacked the pensioner, and that he had no part in it.
In view of that, Judge Richard Griffith-Jones asked whether the burglary charge would be left on the indictment as an alternative to the murder allegation, and Miss Thorp replied: “I think it will be”.
Judge Griffith-Jones adjourned the case for a plea and case management hearing and for an application to join the two indictments to be heard on a date to be fixed in March.
At that hearing there will also be an application by the defence for another burglary charge faced by Melville to be severed from the Gordon Street indictment.
Mr Samuel made no application for bail and Melville, whose trial on the murder charge is likely to take place in May, was remanded in custody.