A man has appeared in court charged with the murder of midwife Samantha Eastwood.
Michael Stirling, 32, from Cromer Road, Stoke-on-Trent, appeared at North Staffordshire Magistrates’ Court on Monday. He is now due to appear at Stafford Crown Court on Wednesday.
Stirling is reported to be the brother-in-law of Eastwood’s ex-fiancé John Peake. He was not required to enter any pleas during the three-minute hearing and spoke only to confirm his name, address and date of birth.
The body of the 28-year-old midwife was found by officers near Caverswall on Saturday – eight days after she was reported missing. The charge states that Stirling allegedly murdered Eastwood between July 26 and August 5 at Baddeley Green.
She had been last seen in uniform leaving work at Royal Stoke Hospital at 7.45am on Friday July 27.
Two other men, aged 28 and 60, who were arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender, have been released on conditional bail while inquiries continue.
In a statement released by Staffordshire Police, Eastwood’s family thanked supporters for their efforts.
They said: “The family of Samantha would like to ask that their privacy is respected at this terrible time.
“We would like to say ‘thank you’ to all the people who followed Samantha’s story and tried their best to help.”
A post-mortem examination took place on Sunday, but further tests are required.
Stirling was remanded in custody.