A TEENAGE boy has denied stabbing one man to death and attempting to kill someone else.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be named because he is under 18, has been charged with the murder of Carl Hopkins who was found dead by a dog walker in Ryegate Road, Colchester, in February.

Mr Hopkins, 49, had been stabbed in the back and a pathologist report showed he suffered a fatal injury to his lung.

Police launched an investigation into Mr Hopkins’ death and believe it was linked to a stabbing in nearby George Street, Colchester, the night before.

A man named Jon Birch was also stabbed in the back and was treated at hospital.

The 40-year-old suffered serious injuries.

During a short hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court, the boy - who is from London - denied both charges of murder and attempted murder.

He also denied the possession of a bladed article - namely a knife - in Maidenburgh Street, Colchester, on the same date of the alleged assaults.

A trial has been scheduled for three weeks and is expected to start in mid-July.

Judge Patricia Lynch QC - who will also preside over the scheduled trial - also pencilled in a hearing in the interim should either the prosecution or defence counsel require her instructions.

Addressing the defendant, she said: “For the time being you will be remanded in custody and will be kept informed as to what is happening by your solicitor - as will your dad.”

Mr Hopkins was known to be sleeping rough in Colchester at the time of his death. Tributes paid to him by friends described as a “loveable pain in the


Mr Hopkins had spent time in jail and battled with drink and drug problems but his friends said he had made huge efforts to turn his life around in the last few months where he had cut down on the booze and hard substances.

In the hours after Mr Hopkins was found dead, police reassured residents there was no risk to the wider public and they believed the stabbings to be isolated.

The two incidents - and an unconnected assault where a man had boiling water thrown at him yards away in Colchester High Street on the same day - led to MP Will Quince organising a violent crime summit with Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Essex Police Chief Constable BJ Harrington to address his concerns.