A couple have appeared at the Old Bailey accused of tying up and killing an elderly woman and then taking more than £14,000 of her money.
Susan Hawkey was found dead in her home in Neasden, north-west London, after a neighbour became concerned for her welfare on 26 September.
The neighbour had not seen the 71-year-old for a while and noticed that her recycling bin had been left out, prompting her to raise the alarm.
Police forced their way into the property in Aylesbury Street and found the pensioner’s badly decomposed body under a duvet.
A murder inquiry was launched after further examination found Ms Hawkey’s hands had been bound behind her back with fabric and parcel tape.
More parcel tape may have been wrapped around her head in a possible bid to gag her, it is alleged.
Pregnant Chelsea Grant, 27, and Xyaire Howard, 22, were charged on Sunday with her murder between September 2 and 7.
They are also charged with two offences of fraud in relation to the use of the victim’s bank card in the days after her death.
Between 7-27 September there were 143 successful transactions amounting to more than £14,000, it is claimed.
On Wednesday, the defendants appeared in the dock at the Old Bailey before Judge Angela Rafferty.
Prosecutor Ben Holt said: “The allegation in this case involves the assault of a vulnerable victim that culminated in the victim being tied up in her own home.”
The judge set a plea hearing for December 21 and a provisional trial from September 4 next year.
The defendants, both of Press Road in Neasden, were remanded into custody.