A TEENAGER has been told a possible date on which he could stand trial accused of the murder of his friend.

Lewis Ashdown is alleged to have killed Marc Williams at Maresfield village recreation ground on May 30.

The 19-year-old appeared via video link at Lewes Crown Court today.

He wore a grey sweater and trousers with a black face mask, and spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth.

A body believed to be Mr Williams, aged 18, was found at Heron's Ghyll near the village on Tuesday.

In an emotional statement his family said: "Marc touched the hearts of so many people, and made their lives brighter with his loving, caring and thoughtful actions.

The Argus: Marc Williams Marc Williams

"We are feeling his loss every second and that will never change. Our hearts are broken.

“Rest peacefully, our cheeky boy. With so much love from Mum, Dad and your whole family.”

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.

"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."

Ashdown, of Normansland, Fairwarp, Uckfield, was arrested in Eastbourne on Tuesday.

He appeared before Brighton Magistrates' Court on Thursday, June 3 where the court clerk read out the charge.

The Argus: Lewis Ashdown, 19, is accused of the murder of Marc Williams in Maresfield, SussexLewis Ashdown, 19, is accused of the murder of Marc Williams in Maresfield, Sussex

Ashdown is accused of the murder of Marc Williams on May 30 at the Maresfield recreation ground, in the village near Uckfield.

He was represented by Aidan Harvey at the hearing at Lewes Crown Court today, while Martin Yale represented the Crown Prosecution Service.

Her Honour Judge Christine Laing QC told him he could face a trial on January 17 next year, with a plea hearing later this summer.

The judge said: "Mr Ashdown, you are going to be back in court on August 3.

"On that day, subject to anything else I'm told, I anticipate that the indictment will be put to you and you will be expected to enter a plea.

"I know there is much work to be done in your case before then."