A PENSIONER who has denied stabbing a dad to death more than 20 years ago is set to stand trial today.

Michael Donnelly is accused of murdering 30-year-old Grant Byrom in Colchester on Boxing Day, 1998.

Donnelly, who was aged 51 at the time of Mr Byrom’s death, appeared before a judge at Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday.

He denied one count of murder.

The jury was sworn in yesterday with the trial set to begin today.

Judge Charles Gratwicke reminded each member of the jury not to carry out their own research into the case or discuss evidence heard throughout the trial with anyone outside their number.

The trial is expected to last three weeks.

Donnelly, 73, of Bromley Road, Colchester, spoke only to confirm his name and deny the charge.

Dressed in a black shirt, he showed no emotion during the short hearing.

Mr Byrom was stabbed in the chest in Forest Road, Colchester, in the Boxing Day incident.

He was taken to Colchester Hospital but later died of his wound.

Five years ago, a renewed appeal for information saw a £2,000 reward offered for information which might lead to a conviction in the case.

The Gazette revealed in June 2019 police were quizzing a man in connection with Mr Byrom’s death.

There were no charges brought in relation to the case until earlier this year.

Donnelly was charged with murdering Mr Byrom on February 25 and appeared at Colchester Magistrates’ Court the next day.

More than 100 people attended Mr Byrom’s funeral at St Leonard’s Church, in Lexden Road, Colchester.

Known to his friends as Granny, he was described as a unique character and was an ardent Leeds United fan.