A MAN accused of killing Breightmet mum Maggie Smythe has denied murdering her.

At a plea hearing at Bolton Crown Court Christopher Taylor appeared via a video link from prison to enter his 'not guilty' plea.

Taylor, aged 39, of Greenroyd Avenue, Breightmet, sat with his arms folded during the five minute hearing.

The Honorary Recorder of Bolton, Judge Martin Walsh, told Taylor that his trial, which is expected to last two weeks, will start on July 29.

In a separate hearing, also via video link, Brian Ottley, aged 29, of Greenroyd Avenue, appeared for a pre-trial review.

He has already denied assisting an offender by helping to dispose of Ms Smythe's body and perverting the course of justice.

The court heard that both Taylor and Ottley are due to be tried together next month at Bolton Crown Court.

Police launched an investigation after 29-year-old Ms Smythe went missing from her home in Swinside Road, Breightmet, on Saturday January 26.

Her body was found on February 1. After a major police search her remains were discovered at the rear of the derelict Red Bridge Inn, Red Lane, Breightmet.

Christopher Taylor first appeared at Bolton Magistrates’ Court three days later after being charged with murdering Ms Smythe, who worked as a cleaner at Bolton Interchange.

The police investigation into Ms Smythe's death continues and this week firefighters and specialist officers were conducting searches around Firwood Fold Reservoir throughout Monday, setting set up crime scene investigation tents at the scene.

Det Insp David Meeney of Greater Manchester Police’s major incident team said: "We have a team of specialist officers searching the area of Firwood Fold reservoir in connection with the death of Maggie Smythe," he said.

“Maggie’s loved ones are still coming to terms with their loss, and we are determined to give them the answers they deserve."