A man accused of the murder of artist Claire Knights is expected to stand trial on June 4.
Harrison Lawrence-van Pooss, from Margate, appeared at Canterbury Crown Court today (Friday) where prosecutor Alison Morgan KC said the 20-year-old's mental health was a "key issue" in the case.
The springer spaniel called Zebulon was found that day running loose on the beach, and her Suzuki car abandoned in Shuart Lane, St Nicholas at Wade.
The mum's disappearance sparked a widespread search by police, the coastguard, Kent Search and Rescue and lifeboat crews, as well as family, friends and the local community, before her body was found in a dyke in Minnis Bay on August 25.
Cause of death was later given as blunt force trauma and drowning.
Lawrence-van Pooss had been arrested on suspicion of murder on August 24 and was subsequently charged. He and Ms Knights were not known to each other.
He appeared at court for what was to be his plea and trial preparation hearing via video link with the Trevor Gibbens psychiatric unit in Maidstone but only spoke to confirm his name with a simple "Yes".
Family and friends of Ms Knights sat in the public gallery.
Arraignment on the charges was adjourned by Judge Simon James until February 21 at the request of defence barrister Jenni Dempster KC to enable Lawrence-van Pooss to be assessed by psychiatrists and reports compiled.
Judge James said however that next year's trial will be heard by a High Court judge.
Lawrence-van Pooss, of Craven Close, also faces an offence of voyeurism in relation to a separate incident in which he allegedly took "up-skirt" images of a woman on August 22.
Following the tragedy, Ms Knights, who was a well-known member of the Kent art community, was described by her heartbroken family as "a trailblazer in life".
The sculptor's many achievements included teaching art in two prisons in the early 1990s and graduating from The Margate School with a masters last year, where she was praised as "outstanding and exceptional".
Lawrence-van Pooss was remanded into the care of the Trevor Gibbens Unit until February's hearing, at which he is likely to attend in person.