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Woman accused of murdering parents facing trial next May

Virginia McCullough has been charged with the murders of John and Lois McCullough in Chelmsford, Essex.

Lois and John McCullough

A woman accused of murdering her parents is facing a trial next year.

Virginia McCullough, 35, appeared by prison video-link before Basildon Crown Court charged with the murders of John and Lois McCullough, who were both aged in their 70s.

The defendant, of Pump Hill, Chelmsford, Essex, is accused of killing the pair in Chelmsford between August 21, 2018, and September 15, 2023.

She was not asked to enter pleas to the two murder charges during a brief court hearing on Tuesday.

Virginia McCullough court sketch
Virginia McCullough was remanded in custody until a plea hearing in December (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

The defendant, who wore a grey prison-issue tracksuit and had a blonde bob haircut, spoke only to confirm her identity from a booth at HMP Peterborough.

Judge Samantha Leigh remanded her into custody until a plea hearing on December 1, with a provisional trial date set from May 13 next year at Chelmsford Crown Court with a time estimate of two weeks.

No application for bail was made.

Essex Police said it received reports of concern for the well-being of two people aged in their 70s on September 13.

The force said it began an investigation and that detectives later found human remains at an address in Pump Hill, Chelmsford.

A police tent erected outside a property in Pump Hill, Chelmsford
A police tent erected outside a property in Pump Hill, Chelmsford (Sam Russell/PA)

Detective Superintendent Rob Kirby, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said on Monday: “This continues to be an incredibly complex investigation.

“Our work will continue throughout the coming days as our specialist officers and staff continue to piece together all elements of this matter.

“Officers will carry out work at addresses in Pump Hill throughout the coming days.

“I would continue to urge against speculation as these inquiries continue.

“A family is grieving the loss of two relatives and officers are supporting them.”

The family of John and Lois McCullough, who are being supported by specialist officers, said in a statement released through police: “We are deeply shocked by their deaths and ask for privacy at this difficult time.”

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