A MURDER trial is on course to start next month after a body was found in a burnt out car.

A trial assessment took place in the case of Mark Chilman at Worcester Crown Court today (Tuesday). The trial remains on course to be heard at Worcester Crown Court on August 2.

The defendant was not required to attend the administrative hearing before Judge James Burbidge QC.

We reported in January how the 51-year-old defendant denied murder following the death of Neil Parkinson whose body was found in a burnt out car.

Mark Chilman appeared at the same court in January where he pleaded not guilty to murder and stalking following the death of the 66-year-old. Mr Parkinson from Clifton-Upon-Teme was found in the vehicle in Ankerdine Road, Cotheridge on December 12 last year.

Chilman from the Old Post Office, Pencombe, Bromyard was formally arraigned by the clerk, entering not guilty to both counts on the indictment, when he appeared last time.

The second count he denied is stalking involving serious alarm and distress. The charge states that Chilman pursued a course of conduct that amounted to the stalking of Juliet Adcock and caused serious alarm or distress to her and had 'a substantial adverse effect on her day to day activities'. The charge states that this involved Chilman sending her 'numerous messages threatening suicide if she refused to resume a relationship' and that he carried out 'observations of her activities and property'. This is alleged to have taken place between June 1 and December 12 last year.

Mr Parkinson was pronounced dead at the scene in a layby in the village on the A44 between Bromyard and Worcester. He was found dead in a burnt out BMW.

In a previous statement, Detective Chief Inspector Mark Peters said: “This is clearly a very serious and tragic incident that has seen a man lose his life and our thoughts are very much with his family and friends at this sad time.”

At the time police also asked residents for any dashcam or CCTV footage of a black BMW X5 travelling between Stoney Lane in Broadwas to Ankerdine Road between 5pm and midnight on Saturday, December 12.

The trial is expected to last three weeks. The defendant was remanded in custody.