Man appears in court charged with murdering wedding planner and her daughter

A man has appeared in court charged with the murders of a wedding planner and her 11-year-old daughter.

Christopher Boon, 28, faced Cheltenham Magistrates' Court accused of murdering Laura Mortimer, 31, and Ella Dalby.

The mother and daughter were pronounced dead at a house in Dexter Way, Gloucester, on bank holiday Monday.

Police had been called to the modern terraced property on the outskirts of the city at 4.50am, responding to reports that two people had been seriously injured.

Boon, of Dexter Way, spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth, address and British nationality during the two-minute hearing.

A house surrounded by police tape
A house surrounded by police tape

Jeremy Oliver, prosecuting, told the court: "This court is prohibited from dealing with the issue of bail."

Kathryn Bailey, chair of the bench, remanded Boon into custody to appear before Bristol Crown Court on June 1.

She told Boon, who had a shaved head and wore a grey t-shirt: "You have heard what the prosecutor said.

"We have no discretion in the matter and you will be remanded into custody and will be sent for trial to Bristol Crown Court for these offences.

"Your first hearing there will be tomorrow morning at 10am."

Members of the victims' family sat in the public gallery for the hearing.

Dozens of floral tributes have been left outside the property.

Ms Mortimer ran her own business, Sweet Beginnings, offering bespoke bridal gowns and wedding planning services.

Dozens of floral tributes have been left outside the property in tribute to the wedding planner and her daughter.

Ms Mortimer's mother wrote: "You will always be in my heart and be loved and missed very much. Lots of love, sleep tight, Mum and Hen."

Ms Mortimer's sister wrote: "To my amazing, beautiful sister Laura and niece Ella. Words can't explain how I feel, I'm broken.

"Love you to the moon and back, love Jo, Jon, Riley and Haleigh. Sleep tight baby girls."

Sarah Tufnell, the head of Barnwood Park Arts College, where Ella was a student, paid tribute to the 11-year-old, speaking of her "passion" for dance.

"Barnwood Park is a small and tightly-knit school, and Ella was involved enthusiastically in our school life, having a particular passion for dance," she said.

"She also helped recently with her form's contribution for our school cultural day. She will be deeply missed by us all."