TWO men have appeared in court in connection with the murder of a man in Hereford who died from a stab wound.

Anthony Boyd faces a single count of murder and Artaf Hussain faces a count of conspiracy to commit murder following the death of Robert Eacock.

Boyd, aged 23, of Temple Road, Willenhall and Hussain, aged 31, of Slater Street, Tipton, appeared together in the dock of court one before judge Robert Juckes QC at Worcester Crown Court today.

As previously reported, the 33-year-old died in hospital after being stabbed in Commercial Street, Hereford on January 29 this year.

Robert Forrest, prosecuting, said a preliminary hearing in relation to Boyd had been heard on February 6 and a separate one for Hussain on February 21. Hussain was arrested following Boyd's appearance in court.

He said prosecution material had yet to be served on the defence but that some progress could still be made at the hearing.

A trial date has already been set for Boyd of July 16 this year. At some stage there is likely to be an application to join the indictments for both defendants.

Mr Forrest said others were also on bail in relation to the murder having been released under investigation.

Judge Juckes said more defendants in the trial 'would add dramatically to the length and complexity of the case'.

Mr Forrest said: "We don't know whether others will be charged but it seems likely."

The custody time limit for Boyd expires on August 3. The custody time limit for Hussain expires on August 20.

Judge Juckes said at this stage the trial date of July 16 should be retained. He scheduled a pre-trial hearing date for Friday, April 6.

He asked the prosecution to serve its evidence on the defence by March 30, before that hearing.

So far neither defendant has entered a plea.

Balbir Singh, for Hussain, asked that the prosecution serve its evidence as soon as possible.

He added: "It doesn't seem an unreasonable request."

Stephen Cadwaladr, for Boyd, said prosecution evidence had yet to be disclosed.

The case will involve CCTV evidence and a voice recognition expert, the court heard.

Both men were remanded in custody until the next hearing.