A TEENAGER charged with the murder of a 19-year-old boy from Tilehurst has had a delay in entering his plea.

Sheldon Lewcock was riding an electric bike when he was involved in a collision in Pierces Hill on August 4 last year. He passed away five days later.

Ryan Willicombe, from Newbury, was originally charged with driving a vehicle involved in a road accident and failing to report that accident as well as one count of driving without third-party insurance.

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However, the 18-year-old has since been charged with murder, attempted grievous bodily harm, and causing death by dangerous driving.

He was due to enter a plea at Reading Crown Court on Monday (November 13) but his defence barrister asked the judge for a postponement due to him being unable to find time prior to the hearing to advise Willicombe.

Rossano Scamardella, defending the teen, said: “I’m asking for an adjournment to the arraignment because it’s important that I see him and advise him before entering his plea.

“A conference was booked last week, through no fault of his, it had to be cancelled due to my unavailability.

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“He’s been advised about credit but I do want an opportunity to go through with him with care before he enters any pleas.”

At the same hearing, the court heard that Willicombe could also face an alternative charge of manslaughter after Judge Heather Norton raised concerns about the dangerous driving charge ‘lacking intent’.

The prosecutor explained the dangerous driving charge was there as ‘a safety net’ and the Crown’s case is that the incident was ‘a deliberate act’.

She said: “Manslaughter has always been an alternative to a murder charge and it may be that a count two A is added but the dangerous driving is really a belt and braces count.

“The Crown say this is a deliberate act.”

A trial date has been set for February 5 and is expected to last two to three weeks. He is next due to appear in court on December 15.

Willicombe appeared via video link from HMP Bullingdon wearing a black jumper and spoke only to confirm his name.

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The court previously heard that Willicombe is being held in custody with no immediate bail application allowed due to the teenager texting his sister informing her of his intentions to leave the country.

Thus, the courts are concerned Willicombe would not turn up for his trial if bail was granted.