A TEENAGER has appeared in court accused of the murder of his pal at a village recreation ground.

Lewis Ashdown is alleged to have killed Marc Williams in Maresfield, near Uckfield.

A body believed to be that of the 18-year-old was found on Tuesday night at the hamlet of Heron’s Ghyll.

Ashdown, 19, appeared before Brighton Magistrates’ Court after he was charged by detectives.

At the weekend police had issued an alert about both young men being missing.

Marc called his family about 11.30pm to say he was on his way home but did not return, police said.

While the body has not been formally identified at this stage, it is believed to be Marc.

Ashdown spoke to confirm his name, address and date of birth during a three-minute hearing this morning.

The Argus: Brighton Magistrates' CourtBrighton Magistrates' Court

The court clerk told him: “The charge is that on May 30, 2021, at the High Street, Maresfield, at the recreation ground, you murdered Marc Williams.

“That is an indictable only offence that can only be dealt with in the crown court.”

Magistrate Geoffrey Grevatt-Chandler said Ashdown would be remanded in custody and will appear before the crown court tomorrow for a preliminary plea and case management hearing.

Jeremy King represented the Crown Prosecution Service at the hearing.

While Ashdown, of Normansland, Fairwarp, Uckfield, was represented by Aidan Harvey.

The Argus: Lewis Ashdown is accused of murder in Maresfield near UckfieldLewis Ashdown is accused of murder in Maresfield near Uckfield

Police have been seen searching woodland near Maresfield Recreation Ground, where an area has been cordoned off.

Pictures taken from the scene showed dozens of officers searching the long grass, with police tape around a section of trees.

A section of the main road A26 was also closed while police combed the area looking for clues.

Detective Chief Inspector Emma Vickers said: "Our thoughts remain with Marc's family at this difficult time.

"His family are being supported by specially trained officers and we ask that their privacy is respected.

The Argus: The body of Marc Williams has reportedly been foundThe body of Marc Williams has reportedly been found

"This is a fast-moving enquiry and we thank the public for their patience and understanding as we continue to carry out our work in the area.

“Anyone with information that may assist with our investigation is urged to report it to us immediately online or by calling 101, quoting Operation Skittle."