A MAN has denied murdering an antiques dealer and former York businessman.

At Hull Crown Court yesterday, Graham Richardson, 26, of Riverside View in Norton, pleaded not guilty to one count of murder between December 29, 2012 and January 1, 2013.

Peter Battle, 56, a well-known figure in local auction houses and a prolific user of online auction site eBay, was found on the lounge floor of his rural bungalow, Whisker Cottage, in Full Sutton, on February 7.

He had been dead for some time before police broke in and discovered his body, and had suffered multiple head and body injuries.

Mr Battle had formerly been a businessman in York, running a computer business called Ace4 Computers in Acomb and working as director for a marketing company in Clifton Moor, called Barton Trott Battle.

His death deeply shocked friends and fellow villagers.

Former colleague Lez Briddon, of Bell Farm, York, told The Press at the time that Mr Battle had not been a man who ever had any enemies.

He had got on well with people and was “always a happy man”.

Mr Battle’s entrepreneurial streak had also earned him the nickname Del Boy, he said.

Richardson, who wore a grey sweatshirt when he appeared in court, also pleaded not guilty to one count of theft of coins of a value unknown at Whisker Cottage between December 29, 2012, and January 28 this year.

The former computer ink salesman who appeared via video link from Wakefield Prison for the ten-minute hearing made no application for bail and was remanded in custody where he will remain until his trial.

He remained silent as the Crown barrister, Nicholas Lumbley, set out the timetable for the case, estimating there would need to be a three-week trial, which would start in July.

Defence barrister Richard Simons said his client still had time to submit his defence statement.

Judge Michael Mettyear said the case was initially reserved for a High Court Judge and could possibly take place on July 15, either at Sheffield Crown Court or Hull Crown Court.