A man has pleaded not guilty to the murder of police community support officer Julia James, who was killed while out walking her dog in April.
Mrs James, 53, was found dead with head injuries in Akholt Wood, near her home in Snowdown, Kent, with her Jack Russell dog Toby by her side.
Her death led to an outpouring of grief in the community she served for many years.
Callum Wheeler, 21, appeared at video link at Maidstone Crown Court when he denied the murder of James.
His trial, previously scheduled for Nov. 29, will be delayed and a new date set as soon as possible, the court was told.
Wheeler, from Aylesham, was remanded in custody ahead of a further hearing next month.
The discovery of Mrs. James’ body on April 27 triggered a huge murder investigation in which dozens of police officers from across the country were involved in combing fields and woods.
Her dog was later used as part of a police reconstruction when detectives appealed to witnesses.
Mrs. James’ family praised her as “sincerely loyal” and one who “loved with all her heart”.
In a tribute released by the police, they said: “Her loss will be felt by us every moment every day. She will be missed so much.
“As a family, we try to understand how we will navigate our lives without her, it seems like an impossible task.”