East Devon man accused of murder at Jehovah’s Witness hall appears in court

PUBLISHED: 16:00 06 July 2017

Keith Beviss is accused of murdering Westward Ho! electrician Philip Ryan. Court sketch by Elizabeth Cook.

Keith Beviss is accused of murdering Westward Ho! electrician Philip Ryan. Court sketch by Elizabeth Cook.

Archant

A man accused of murdering an electrician while he was working at a Jehovah’s Witness hall has appeared in court.

The provisional date for the trial of Keith Beviss, of Woodhayes Drive, Honiton, who appeared via video link at Exeter Crown Court today, has been set for November 27.

The 54-year-old was not required to enter a plea and will not enter one until a psychiatric report looking into his mental health can be obtained.

Beviss, who has been remanded in custody at Long Lartin Prison in the Midlands, spoke only to confirm his name and to ask to speak to his legal representative.

The defendant is accused of murdering 55-year-old Philip Ryan who was found with fatal stab wounds at the Jehovah Witness Kingdom Hall in Dowell Street, in Honiton, on Tuesday, June 6.

Mr Ryan, from Westward Ho!, North Devon, was a married business owner who ran Ryan Alarms and Electrical Services with his friend Chris Ley for 30 years after he moved to Devon from Henley-on-Thames.

Judge Geoffrey Mercer remanded Beviss in custody until he is next due to appear on September 21.

Mr Ryan’s funeral was held at the Bristol’s Jehovah’s Witness Assembly Hall last week and was attended by more than 900 people.

Business partner Mr Ley paid tribute to him as “kind, gentle and intelligent man”.

Mr Ryan’s widow Sandra issued a statement after the funeral.

She said: “I would sincerely like to thank all the friends and customers who have offered so many kind comments and practical offers of help since the tragic death of my husband Philip on June 6th.

“Our family has been deeply touched by the way that everyone has responded, even some who do not know us personally.”

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