A WOMAN accused of killing her mother in an allegedly planned attack at her parents’ home is unlikely to stand trial before May of next year.

Laura van Marle appeared at Warwick Crown Court for a preliminary hearing after being charged with the murder of her 69-year-old mother Susanna van Marle.

She also faces a charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm on her father, 73-year-old William van Marle.

The charges follow what is alleged to have been a planned attack at her parents’ home in Finchers Corner, Cradley, Hereford, on September 26.

With van Marle sitting sobbing in the dock, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano explained: “It is here today because there is no judge available at Worcester [Crown Court] to hear it today.

“It will, however, be going back to Worcester for trial.”

Asked about the trial, prosecutor Richard Smith QC, who said van Marle’s ‘custody time limit,’ the time a defendant can be held in custody without it being extended by a judge, expires on April 24 next year, commented: “A two-week estimate is sensible.” 

Judge de Bertodano said that there was only one ‘class one judge,’ those able to hear murder trials, at Worcester Crown Court, so there were only limited dates for a trial.

“The first slot is in March, but it is only a four-day slot, which is not going to be enough.  The first substantial slot in Judge [James] Burbidge’s diary is the 10th of May.

“I think we had better take that slot, but we will have to look if we can find an earlier date.”

Mr Smith said he would not be available for the date in May, and the judge indicated: “What we need to do is see if we can move it to another court.

“I will put a note to listing in Worcester see if we can find a date before Easter, so on or around the 15th of March.”

Judge de Bertodano observed that the principal witness in the case was van Marle’s father, and Mr Smith confirmed: “He is, and he was also injured.” 

Discussing a date for a plea and trial preparation hearing, the judge suggested a ‘realistic’ hearing could not take place until a psychiatric report had been prepared on van Marle.

Her barrister Felicia Davy agreed and, pointing out that the report would then have to be considered, added: “Could I ask for perhaps the 4th of December?”

Miss Davey said there was no application for bail, and Mr Smith, who said it was alleged to have been ‘a planned killing,’ indicated that the prosecution would object if one was made.

Adjourning the case until the plea and trial preparation hearing in December, and remanding van Marle in custody, Judge de Bertodano told her: “I have set a trial date of the 10th of May next year.

“But we will make every effort to see if we can find an earlier trial date.”