A PROVISIONAL trial date has been set for a 50-year-old Whitehaven man who has been charged with sexually assaulting and murdering a woman.

During a 20-minute hearing at Carlisle Crown Court, Paul Irwin appeared before a judge via a video link from HMP Preston where he is being held. He spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth and to say he could hear the proceedings.

He is charged with murdering 34-year-old Tiffany Render in Whitehaven on March 22. He is also charged with sexually assaulting her on the same date.

The defendant, wearing a black T-shirt, listened in silence as Judge Nicholas Barker set a timetable for the case, which includes a plea hearing on April 23.

Judge Barker set a provisional start date for the trial of November 12.

It is not yet known whether a High Court judge will preside over future hearings.  Following discussions between the lawyers, it was agreed that a trial of the case is likely to last no more than ten days.

Barrister Brendan Burke, for Irwin, said there would no application for bail at this stage.

Judge Barker remanded the defendant in custody but said that any future application for bail would be considered in the usual way. The prosecution was represented in court by Jonathan Sandiford KC, who appeared via a video link.

No further details of the allegations and the prosecution case were revealed in court. The defendant was not asked to enter pleas.

The prosecution follows an investigation which began when police officers were called to a property on George Street, Whitehaven at around 11.45pm on March 22, 2024.

Court records confirm the defendant’s current address as being George Street, Whitehaven.

When news of Miss Render’s death became public, her relatives released a statement, saying that she will be sorely missed by her whole family. "We will treasure every memory of her," the statement added.