A man accused of the murder of a pensioner in York having allegedly tried to rob her at her home has today made his first appearance before a crown court.

Peter Anthony John Harris, 33, of no fixed address was charged with the murder of Elsie Mowbray, 87 of Victoria Court, off Leeman Road, York after her death earlier this week.

He is accused of attempting to rob her on New Year’s Day and assaulting her son Richard.

Magistrates sent the case to Leeds Crown Court under the Coroners and Justice Act because a judge must decide any bail application within 48 hours.

But during a short hearing today, the Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC was told there was to be no bail application for Harris.

A preliminary hearing was adjourned to January 23 when the judge said he hoped to set a timetable for the case after speaking to the Presiding High Court judge on the North East Circuit.

The court was told that a trial would likely take two weeks.

Judge Collier remanded Harris in custody but said he should be produced again for that hearing so further discussions can take place with his advocate and charges against him clarified.

Mrs Mowbray was taken to York Hospital on New Year’s Day after disturbing the intruder in her home but was discharged the next day. However she was later readmitted and by Tuesday this week her condition was described as “critical”.

News of her death broke when Harris was already in custody.