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Court hears murder-accused allegedly met Kayleigh online where he "groomed her"

Victim: 15-year-old Kayleigh Haywood
Victim: 15-year-old Kayleigh Haywood

A man has appeared in court charged with the rape and murder of teenager Kayleigh Haywood, whose body was found in undergrowth near a lake five days after she went missing.

The 15-year-old, from Measham in Leicestershire, had not been seen since 6pm on Friday November 13, when she was dropped off outside Ibstock Community College in Central Avenue.

Police discovered the body near Sence Valley Forest Park on Wednesday evening after officers were drafted in from across the region to help with the search.

Stephen Beadman, 28, wore a grey jumper and trousers in the dock and is accused of murder and one count of rape on November 15. He spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and address.

A second man, Luke Harlow, 27, appeared in court also wearing a grey jumper and trousers and was charged with grooming on November 13 and two counts of sexual activity with a child between November 12 and 16. He also spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and address.

Prosecutor Alan Murphy told Leicester Magistrates' Court: "He (Harlow) made contact with her over the internet, he groomed her and brought her to his address."

The pair, both from George Avenue in the village of Ibstock, Leicestershire, appeared for brief hearings at the court and magistrate Ian Clarkson remanded the pair into custody.

No application for bail was made for Beadman or Harlow.

No pleas were entered and they will next appear at Leicester Crown Court on December 18.

Police removed the body from land in Ibstock on Thursday lunchtime and a post-mortem examination will be carried out to confirm the cause of death.

After the discovery, her family said: "We are heartbroken, grief-stricken and as a family, utterly devastated. There are no words to express the way we are feeling.

"We cannot even begin to thank the local communities and wider public for their messages of support which have helped us through the last week.

"We are also grateful for the publicity the media have given to Kayleigh's disappearance and the desperate search to find her."

A vigil for Kayleigh was held at the St Laurence Church in Measham on Thursday evening, with hundreds of people from the village turning out to pay their respects.

Reverend Linda Cox, from the church, said: "It was a very sombre atmosphere in there, but it was also a very supporting and loving atmosphere for each other and particularly forKayleigh's family.

"It's mournful but respectful, and people want to come together to show their support."