A man has appeared in court charged with murder following the fatal stabbing of landlord Christian Thornton outside his pub in Widnes.

Lee Abbott, aged 35, of no fixed abode, appeared before Warrington Magistrates’ Court today.

He was remanded in custody and is set to appear at Liverpool Crown Court on the morning of Thursday, August 15.

Runcorn and Widnes World:

Christian Thornton

During the hearing Abbott stated that his current address is Rose Street, Widnes.

A 39-year-old woman who has been arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.

At 3.20pm, on Sunday, August 11, police received reports of a serious assault near the Hammer and Pincers pub in Liverpool Road.

Officers swiftly attended the scene to find the victim - Mr Thornton, aged 49 - had sustained serious injuries.

Sadly, despite the best efforts of all involved, he died at the scene.

It subsequently emerged that Cheshire Police has referred itself to watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct after Mr Thornton had reported an earlier incident.

A spokesman for the force said: “As part of ongoing enquiries, it has been established that there was previous contact between the victim and Cheshire Police on August 3 after the victim reported an incident.

“This has been reviewed by Cheshire Constabulary’s Professional Standards Department and a referral has been made to the Independent Office for Police Conduct as is normal procedure.

“It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”

Halton MP Derek Twigg said he was "deeply saddened" by Mr Thornton's death and added that he had asked police to keep him informed on the progress of their investigation.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or has any information, which could assist the investigation, is urged to call Cheshire police on 101 quoting IML 483194.

Information can also be passed on anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.