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Ruslan Piktorov appears at Maidstone Crown Court charged with murder after body of Trevor Hillman, 57, found near Headcorn church

By Ed McConnell

A man has appeared in court this morning charged with the murder of Trevor Hillman following the discovery of his body near a village church last week.

Ruslan Piktorov, of no fixed address, appeared at Maidstone Crown Court having been arrested in Holborn, central London, at around 5pm on Wednesday.

Piktorov's arrest followed the discovery of the body of 57-year-old Mr Hillman by a member of the public in the porch of St Peter and St Paul parish church, Headcorn, earlier that day.

Trevor Hillman, 57, whose body was found in the porch of St Peter and St Paul parish church, Headcorn, last week
Maidstone Crown Court. Picture John Wardley

Wearing a grey sweat shirt 40-year-old Piktorov spoke through a translator only to confirm his name.

Judge Jeremy Carey remanded Piktorov, originally from Uzbekistan, in custody at Elmley prison, Eastchurch, to appear at a plea and case management hearing on January 21, with a trial set for April 20.

Judge Jeremy Carey
The church yard was sealed off. Picture: Martin Apps

A second man, arrested in High Street, Headcorn, at around the same time as Piktorov, was released without charge last week.

Police have contacted Mr Hillman's next of kin.

St Peter and St Paul parish church off High Street, Headcorn

Mr Hillman, a plasterer and familiar face to many, had been sleeping rough in the village and surrounding area for most of his life.

One resident said: “Everybody’s saying how sad it is. He was harmless.”

Another described him as a “nice chap,” adding: “He was known around the village for quite a few years. I think he sort of chose that lifestyle. It’s very sad.”

Forensic officers at the scene. Picture: Martin Apps

There was a heavy police presence in the village on Wednesday with the High Street cordoned off.

A cordon remained in place around the churchyard on Thursday with several police vans and officers at the scene.

A police spokesman said: "Police were called to Church Walk in Headcorn on the morning of October 22 to a report of a deceased person being found.

Police in the grounds of St Peter & St Paul in Headcorn. Picture: Martin Apps

"Officers are currently at the scene working to establish the circumstances."

Police were said to be examining CCTV footage.

Senior investigating officer, DI Lee Whitehead of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "I would like to thank the Headcorn community for their assistance with this investigation."

Police at the scene yesterday

It is understood a man who was opening the church, on the corner of North Street and High Street, made the grim discovery just after 9am.

The village hall, which is near the churchyard, had to close on Wednesday, with events held there cancelled. It has since reopened.

A memorial service for Mr Hillman was held on Friday evening at St Peter and St Paul church.

The body was discovered near Church Walk

Video: Police at the scene where the body was found

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