A primary school teacher has appeared in court to deny murdering her long-term boyfriend after his body was found buried in their back garden.
Fiona Beal, 48, is accused of killing Nicholas Billingham, 42, between October 30 and November 10 last year.
The builder was found in the garden of their terraced property on Moore Street in Northampton in March following four days of digging - and almost five months after his death.
At Northampton Crown Court on Friday, the 48-year-old defendant spoke only to confirm her name and her not guilty plea during a short hearing.
Mr Billingham died as a result of a stab wound to the neck.
She had taught at Eastfield Academy in Northampton before her arrest and has since been sacked.
Forensic officers and specialist search teams, including a cadaver dog, were deployed to the address before the discovery was made days later.
In a tribute to Mr Billingham previously released on behalf of his family by Northamptonshire Police, they said: “Our heart aches for Nick. He was a gorgeous little boy, and we have so many cherished memories of him growing up and were so proud of the man he became.
“He just got on with life, which has now been tragically cut short.
“Rest in peace, Nick. Until we meet again, sleep tight and remember all the good times we had together. We will love you always and forever.”
Northampton’s Eastfield Academy, where Beal worked before her arrest, said they were “shocked and saddened” to hear of Mr Billingham’s death – describing the incident as an “appalling tragedy that will shake our school community”.
Beal, of Moore Street, was remanded into custody to appear at the same court on September 6.
A trial date was previously set for September 12.