A MAN has appeared before a crown court judge charged with the murder of a father-of-three at a shopping centre in Essex.

Michael Ugwa, 29, from Rainham, east London, died at Lakeside shopping centre in Thurrock.

Mr Ugwa had been assaulted in the food court shortly before 4.30pm on April 28.

Brandon Lutchmunsing, of Dagenham, east London, appeared before Basildon Crown Court today (Friday, May 6) charged with murder and affray.

The 19-year-old was not asked to enter pleas to the charges and was remanded in custody until a plea hearing on July 1.

Also before the court was 20-year-old Shannon Weston, of Canewdon, Essex.

She has been charged with assisting an offender.

She was not asked to enter a plea and was remanded in custody until a plea hearing on July 1.

Both defendants face a trial from April 11 next year with a time estimate of six weeks.

Essex Police have said two more people were arrested in connection with the case on Wednesday, May 4.

A 22-year-old man from Ilford, east London, was being questioned on suspicion of murder and possession of class A drugs.

The 54-year-old woman from Croydon, south London, was in custody on suspicion of assisting an offender.