A man has appeared in court today charged with the murder of Greenhithe schoolgirl Claire Tiltman.

Colin Ash-Smith, from Swancombe, is being prosecuted after lawyers were handed a file by Kent Police following a cold case review.

The 45-year-old appeared before magistrates in Maidstone via a video link.

He will next appear at Maidstone Crown Court on Monday morning and was remanded in custody.

Tilt, as she was known to her friends, was stabbed more than 40 times in January 1993 in an alleyway off London Road, Greenhithe.

Claire, who went to Dartford Grammar School , had hoped to join the fire brigade and regularly visited her local fire station while completing her Duke of Edinburgh Award.

Wearing a white t-shirt and black trousers, he spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth.

The public gallery was packed with friends of Claire and Ash Smith's father, Aubrey.