Duffield stabbings: New Year's Day double-murder accused in court

Helen Hancock and Martin Griffiths Image copyright Family photos
Image caption The bodies of Helen Hancock and Martin Griffiths were found by police on New Year's Day

An estranged husband has appeared in court charged with murdering his wife and her new partner at a house in Derbyshire on New Year's Day.

Helen Hancock, 39, and Martin Griffiths, 48, were found by police in New Zealand Lane, Duffield.

Rhys Hancock did not enter a plea at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates' Court and was remanded in custody.

The 39-year-old, of Portland Street, Etwall, is due to appear at Derby Crown Court on Monday.

The court heard Mr Griffiths was found dead in a bedroom when police arrived at the property, while Mrs Hancock was gravely injured and paramedics battled unsuccessfully for 15 minutes to save her.

Prosecutor Jeanette Stevenson said Mr and Mrs Hancock had separated "some time ago" and described Mr Griffiths as her "new partner".

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Mr Hancock is accused of killing his wife and her new partner

Further tributes have been paid to Mr Griffiths and Mrs Hancock, following statements from their families on Thursday.

A statement on behalf of Fountains High School in Burton-upon-Trent, where Mrs Hancock worked as a teacher, said staff and students were "all deeply saddened" by her death.

"She was a well-liked member of staff who made a real difference to the pupils she taught here at school," the statement said.

Image caption Flowers have been left outside the house where the pair died

Chris West, director of design agency 22 Create Ltd, where Mr Griffiths worked in marketing, said he was "a highly valued colleague" and a "good friend to us all".

"This has come as a huge shock to us all," he added.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct confirmed it was investigating contact between Derbyshire Police and Mrs Hancock before her death, following a referral by the force.

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