TWO boys have appeared in court charged with murdering a Christchurch man.

The two 16-year-olds, from Christchurch and Bournemouth, respectively, appeared at Poole Magistrates’ Court, sitting as a youth court, on Tuesday, January 11.

The allegation relates to the death of 35-year-old Edward Reeve, who was found at his home in Heath Road, Walkford, on Tuesday, January 4.

Both defendants, who cannot be named for legal reasons, did not enter a plea to the charge.

Andrew Coley, prosecuting, asked for the case to be sent to crown court.

District Judge Stephen Nicholls remanded the two defendants in youth detention accommodation ahead of a hearing at Winchester Crown Court on Thursday, January 13.

Barrister Selina Goddard represented the two youth defendants.

In a statement issued late on Monday, January 10, Detective Inspector Simon Huxter, of Dorset Police’s Major Crime Investigation Team, said: “Following a detailed and fast-moving investigation, we have consulted with the Crown Prosecution Service, which has authorised the charges.

“The family of Edward Reeve has been updated with this development and our thoughts remain with them at this truly awful time.

“This matter is now subject to a court process and as is typical in these circumstances, it would be entirely inappropriate for Dorset Police to comment further. It is important that the justice system is allowed to follow its course.

“I would like to remind the public that this matter is now the subject of active court proceedings and it is important to stress that there should be no commentary or sharing of information online or on social media that could potentially prejudice these proceedings.

“I would also like to highlight to members of the public that automatic court restrictions will apply to anyone under the age of 18, meaning their name should not be published, which would include any content on social media.

“I am keen to reiterate my thanks to the public for their support following the appeals and the information they have provided to assist our enquiries. The investigation continues so please do contact us if you believe you have information that could assist.”

A 15-year-old girl from the Christchurch area who was arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender has been released on police bail pending further enquiries.