AN 88-year-old man charged with murdering his wife has appeared in court.

Arthur Heywood was arrested on suspicion of murdering 80-year-old Barbara Heywood on March 27 this year.

Following assessments by specialist medical staff, he was detained under the Mental Health Act the next day.

Heywood, who is currently residing at a psychiatric institution in Blackburn, appeared at Bolton Magistrates' Court this morning.

He did not enter a plea during the five-minute hearing, where he was represented by Rachel Johnson, of Olliers Solicitors.

Heywood appeared before the court in poor health and hard of hearing. He used walking sticks to assist him.

He spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth, and that he understood that his case would be sent to Bolton Crown Court.

However, mobility difficulties prevented Heywood from being present at Crown Court.

Bail was granted at the unit, Kemple View, Longsight Rd, Langho, in Blackburn — a hospital catering to the treatment needs of male patients with a mental illness and/or personality disorder.

Judge Martin Walsh imposed a condition of bail that Heywood is not to leave the address without the express consent of the responsible clinician.

Mrs Heywood was found dead at her home address in Ramsay Avenue, Farnworth, on the morning of March 27.

Paying tribute at the time, the family described the great grandmother as a "generous, kind hearted lady who loved life."

The pre-trial hearing has been adjourned until August 12 at Manchester Crown Court.

Heywood awaits a trial due to take place at Manchester Crown Court on December 9.