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Richard Danter charged with murder after Tonbridge man Billy Mankelow dies from serious head injuries in Leeds

A 31-year-old man charged with murdering a Kent student in Yorkshire has appeared in court today.

Richard Danter, of no fixed address, stood at Leeds Crown' Court today for a short hearing.

No plea was entered and he has been remanded in custody where he will remain until a plea and case management hearing at the same court on May 12.

Billy Mankelow
Billy Mankelow

Danter first appeared at the city's magistrates court yesterday for a short hearing.

Wearing a grey sweatshirt and jeans, he spoke only to confirm his name and age.

It comes after 20-year-old Tonbridge man Billy Mankelow was left for dead under a railway arch near Leeds City station on Saturday morning.

The student, who had since moved to Leeds, died on Sunday after being found with head wounds near Leeds city station.

A statement released from his family said:“We are devastated by the tragic loss of our loving son Billy and are now asking for privacy at this heartbreaking time to allow our family to grieve.”

Mr Mankelow, who was studying Social Sciences at the University of Leeds, also attended Hugh Christie Technology College and K College - now known as West Kent College.

The former Tonbridge Starbucks employee tweeted of his excitement at being accepted into university last year.

It's believed the victim was discovered by two men walking close to the station in Swinegate at around 3.20am on Saturday.

Tributes have been pouring in since news of Mr Mankelow's death. His younger brother, Alex, wrote: "Gonna miss you loads big bro I love you loads and miss you loads rest in peace all ways in my heart."

Head of Maths and English at West Kent College, Sarah Bardell, said: "Billy was a delightful student who was very popular with his peers and highly thought of by his teachers.

"He was always smiling and staff knew him as a very caring and supportive individual.

Swinegate in Leeds, Yorkshire, near where the body was found. Picture: Google Street View
Swinegate in Leeds, Yorkshire, near where the body was found. Picture: Google Street View

"He was a pleasure to teach and a valued member of the sixth form. His psychology teacher described him as ‘a delightful young man with a mature attitude, great calmness and a remarkable sense of empathy’. Our thoughts are with Billy’s family and friends."

Assistant head of Hugh Christie College, Paul Bargery, said Mr Mankelow was "one of the kindest and most gentle people you could ever wish to meet".

"Everyone is so shocked and it is difficult to understand how such a gentle, caring person has died under these circumstances.

"He helped so many students around the school and was such a lovely person. We have been talking about him a lot over the past few days. We've been remembering his cheeky smile and slightly naughty sense of humour that used to make us all laugh."

Billy Mankelow was found with serious head injuries in Leeds
Billy Mankelow was found with serious head injuries in Leeds

Mr Mankelow is the third student in his year group to die in the space of two weeks.

On April 12 Michael Owen, 21 and Kyle Careford, 20 - also former Hugh Christie College pupils - were killed when the car they were travelling in crashed in to a church wall in Crowborough.

Mr Bargery added: "This is the third student in the year group that has sadly passed away. The school and the community is feeling emotionally battered and bruised.

"Billy's brother still attends our school and we will be doing all we can to support him when he returns."

Mr Mankelow was also a member of the Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council's Youth Forum - a group of young people that represent the views of people living in the area - from 2007 to 2010.

"He was one of the kindest and most gentle people you could ever wish to meet" - Paul Bargery, Assistant Head at Hugh Christie College...

Robert Syles, Director of Street Scene and Leisure at Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council said: "It was with great sadness that we learned of Billy Mankelow's death. Billy had been a member of the TM Youth Forum and the Council wishes to offer its condolences to Billy's family at this sad time."

Mr Mankelow was also an employee at Leeds-based company Get Baked which closed yesterday evening as a mark of respect.

They paid an emotional tribute on their Facebook page writing: "It's with a very heavy heart that I have to announce the devastating news of the passing of our incredibly valued team members."

Staff described him as a kind-hearted and a "genuinely decent human being" and added, "we're utterly devastate and in shock, our thoughts are with his family."

British Transport police are appealing for anyone who may have witnessed the incident to come forward.

Dt Insp Mick Jackson said: “Anyone who was near the railway arches in the Swinegate area in the early hours of Saturday morning and who may have witnessed anything suspicious to contact 0800 40 50 40, or text 61016, quoting reference 47 of 25/04/2015."

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