THE man who is accused of killing Cranage cattery owner Diana Lee has denied murdering her.

David Ryan, 47, of Byrom Street, Hale, pleaded not guilty to the charge at Chester Crown Court on Monday.

Ryan was charged with Ms Lee’s murder after the 54-year-old was found dead from head wounds after an arson attack at Parklands Cattery in Byley Lane on August 9, 2012.

The trial is expected to take four to six weeks but both legal teams agreed they needed more time for the ‘unusual, complicated’ case before a date is set.

A pre-trial review is set for March 4 and Ryan, who wore a dark suit and tie, has been denied bail. Ms Lee was last seen out with friends in Knutsford at the Wine Bar and Man Zen restaurant the night before her death.