Page last updated at 11:48 GMT, Monday, 4 January 2010

Man denies rape and murder of teenager Ashleigh Hall

Peter Chapman
Peter Chapman was originally charged with manslaughter

A man has denied the kidnap, rape and murder of a County Durham teenager he allegedly met on the internet.

Peter Chapman, 33, is accused of strangling 17-year-old childcare student Ashleigh Hall, from Darlington, in October last year.

Her body was found dumped in a farmer's field near Sedgefield.

At Teesside Crown Court, he also denied failing to notify police of a change of address, as required by the sex offenders register.

Mr Chapman, of no fixed address and who was originally charged with manslaughter, is due to stand trial in March.

The teenager, of Warwick Square, Darlington, was found dead in a field close to the Little Chef roundabout, off the A689 and A177 roads, on 26 October.

A post-mortem examination revealed she had been smothered.

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