Essex man denies murder of special needs teacher

A Hatfield Heath man accused of killing his partner has pleaded not guilty to murder.

Silver-bearded Ronald Edwards, 65, appeared in the dock at Chelmsford Crown Court dressed in denim jeans and a blue checked shirt and denied murdering 66-year-old Sylvia Rowley-Bailey, on June 11 this year.

Ms Rowley-Bailey, a retired special needs teaching assistant, who had been Mr Edwards partner for eight years, was found at their bungalow home in Matching Road, Hatfield Heath with stab wounds. One severed her jugular, one went from her ear through to her throat, and another injured her pulmonary artery.

Judge Christopher Ball QC remanded Edwards in custody until the next preliminary hearing in October. A provisional trial date of December 8 was fixed.

Father-of-three Edwards is a recently retired external university and college assessor. He previously worked as an inspector for a water company for about 18 years. His 88-year-old mother lives in St Albans.

Ms Rowley-Bailey worked at Mountfitchet Maths and Computing College in Stansted until summer of 2008 and previously at schools in Harlow.