Court hearing in Claire murder case

Claire Tiltman was killed in 1993.

Claire Tiltman was killed in 1993.

First published in National News © by

A man has appeared in court via videolink over the murder of a schoolgirl who was stabbed to death more than two decades ago.

Colin Ash-Smith, 45, is accused of fatally knifing 16-year-old Claire Tiltman in an alleyway off the A226 London Road in Greenhithe, Kent, on January 18, 1993.

The Dartford Grammar School pupil was wounded more than 40 times as she took a short cut to visit a friend, four days after her 16th birthday.

At Maidstone Magistrates' Court, Ash-Smith - dressed in a white T-shirt and tracksuit bottoms - spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and last address via videolink from high-security Belmarsh prison in south-east London. No plea was indicated.

The packed public gallery in Court One included Ash-Smith's parents, Aubrey and Diane, and many friends of Claire.

Ash-Smith was further remanded in custody and he will next appear at a preliminary hearing at Maidstone Crown Court on Monday, March 3. Both of only child Claire's parents have died since her death.

Her mother Lin died aged 56 in 2008, and her father Cliff died in September 2012.

The killing is one of Kent Police's longest-running unsolved cases and it has been subject to a number of reviews by cold case detectives.

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