A FORMER paratrooper has appeared in court charged with murdering a grandfather who was stabbed to death while walking his dogs.

Alexander Palmer, 24, is accused of killing 83-year-old Peter Wrighton in woodland last month.

Palmer, a former member of the 7 Para, the Royal Horse Artillery, based at Colchester Garrison, was dressed in a red t-shirt, appeared before Norwich Crown Court today via video link from HMP Belmarsh.

No plea was made by the bearded defendant due to an application for a psychiatric review on whether he is fit to plea.

Palmer, who served in the Army for five years, spoke only to confirm his identity.

Paul Raudnitz, defending Palmer, said: "It is well known to the court that there has been an application for a psychiatric report to be able to obtained for him."

The case was adjourned until November 17.

Peter Wrighton was found dead near the village of East Harling, Norfolk, on August 5.

A post mortem examination found the dog walker, from Banham, Norfolk, had been repeatedly stabbed in the neck and head.

It was initially thought the retired BT engineer was attacked by an animal while walking his two dogs, nine-year-old Scarteen Harrier and 13-year-old Trailhound cross which were found unharmed.