A man accused of murdering a 21-year-old university student is expected to go on trial next year.

Paul Crowther, 35, of Elm Way, Birstall, is charged with murdering Bethany Fields, who died after she was found injured in a street in Huddersfield on Thursday.

Crowther was due to appear at Leeds Crown Court this morning, but did not attend.

Mark McKone, prosecuting, told Judge Rodney Jameson QC: “Mr Crowther is obviously remanded in custody.

“I understand he has elected not to attend court today.”

Crowther, was charged with murder and possession of a bladed article after Ms Fields was found in Fitzwilliam Street at 6.12pm on September 12 and pronounced dead at the scene.

No application for bail was made during the brief hearing and a provisional trial date was set for March 2 next year.

Judge Jameson said: “In the case of Paul Crowther, I will fix a date for a plea and trial preparation hearing on October 31.

“I will fix a provisional trial date for March 2 2020, with a time estimate of five days plus, and Mr Crowther will remain remanded in custody.”

Ms Fields, an environmental geography student, was described as “the brightest star of them all” in a tribute released by her family after her death.

They said: “The life of Bethany, who was a beautiful, talented, ambitious, intelligent, kind, giving and loving daughter, was tragically taken from her.

“A daughter, who any parent would have been proud of, much-loved and respected by all: family, friends, work colleagues and fellow students.

“She will be sadly missed, but never forgotten, forever in our hearts and thoughts.

“Heaven has gained the brightest star of them all.”