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A woman has appeared in court charged with murdering her parents whose remains were allegedly found at their home in Essex, police said.

Virginia McCullough, 35, appeared via video link from prison at Basildon Crown Court, charged with the murders of John and Lois McCullough, aged 70.

The defendant, from Pump Hill in Chelmsford, Essex, is accused of murdering the two men in Chelmsford between August 21, 2018 and September 15, 2023. She was not asked to plead to the two murder charges during the brief court hearing on Tuesday.

The accused, who wore a gray prison tracksuit and had a blonde bob haircut, spoke only to confirm her identity from a stand at HMP Peterborough.

The judge, Samantha Leigh, remanded McCullough in custody until a plea hearing on December 1, with a provisional trial date set for May 13 at Chelmsford Crown Court with an estimated duration of two weeks. No application for bail has been made.

On Monday, Essex Police said they had received reports of concerns for the welfare of two people aged in their 70s on September 13. The force said it subsequently launched an investigation and detectives subsequently found human remains at a property in Pump Hill, Chelmsford.

DS Rob Kirby of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said on Monday the investigation was “incredibly complex” and officers and staff would continue their work over the coming days, including at addresses in Pump Hill.

“I would continue to advise against speculation as these investigations continue,” he added. “A family mourns the loss of two loved ones and the police support them. »

The family of John and Lois McCullough, who are supported by specialist officers, said in a statement released by police: “We are deeply shocked by their deaths and ask for privacy at this difficult time. »