The man accused of killing a missing Sissinghurst mum appeared in court today, where it was revealed he has been charged with a second murder.
Mark Brown, 40, of Squirrel Close, St-Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, today pleaded not guilty to the murder of Alexandra Morgan.
He will return to court on March 25 to make a plea in relation to the new charge of murder. He is accused of killing 33-year-old Leah Ware from Hastings on or about May 7, 2021.
The Brighton and Hove Recorder, Judge Christine Laing, sitting at Lewes Crown Court in East Sussex, said the addition of the second charge made it likely that the case would now need to be heard by a High Court Judge, so a date for the trial could not be set immediately.
Miss Morgan, a mother of two, went missing on Remembrance Sunday last year. She was last seen buying petrol at the Shell service station at The Common, Sissinghurst, at 7.20am.
Police officers carried out extensive searches in three areas near Hastings and another near Sevenoaks Weald, but failed to find her body.
However, the 34-four-year-old's car was recovered.
Brown appeared in court via a video link from Belmarsh Prison. He was dressed in an over-sized grey sweater and grey trousers and looked gaunt and unshaven.
He sat very still for the hearing keeping his hands in his lap most of the time. He spoke only to confirm his name and make his not guilty plea.
His defending counsel, Danny Moore, told the judge that Brown's defence would be that Miss Morgan's death had been an accident, but he would admit to trying to dispose of her body by fire.
Following the hearing, senior investigating officers DCI Neil Kimber of Kent Police and DCI Andy Wolstenholme from the force in Sussex, said: "Our thoughts are with the families of both Alexandra and Leah at this difficult time.
"Whilst we have located the remains of Alexandra we have yet to find Leah and our investigations remain ongoing. We are appealing for anyone with information regarding either Leah or Alexandra to contact us urgently.
"Anyone with information is asked to contact Kent Police or Sussex Police online or by visiting the Kent Major Incident Public Portal in relation to Alexandra Morgan. Alternatively call 101 quoting Operation Gallery for Kent or Operation Acresdown for Sussex.
"We understand the impact that this may have in our communities. We encourage anyone with concerns to get in touch with us."