THE TRIAL has started for the teenagers accused of murdering Joshua Harling in Thame.

The 19-year-old accountant was found stabbed to death in July last year.

Prosecutors allege that Nathan Braim, 20, of Broadwaters Avenue, Thame, and Benjamin Eyles, 19, of Monks Hollow, Buckinghamshire, killed Mr Harling – which they both deny.

The teenager was found with fatal injuries on Chinnor Road, Thame, shortly after 7pm on July 22.

At Oxford Crown Court today Eyles appeared in the dock in a grey suit for the trial.

Braim did not attend after he was not put on the transport to the court.

Judge Ian Pringle QC told the jurors: “Let me explain what happened over the weekend.

“First of all, you will notice that the first defendant is not in the dock.”

He said he would be looking into ‘precisely’ what had happened at the prison yesterday morning that meant Braim could not get on the bus to his trial.

He went on: “You will also notice that the public gallery is not as full as it was.”

The judge said that a woman who had been ‘coughing a lot’ last week and had reassured the court that she tested negative for coronavirus went on to test positive on Friday.

He told jurors that everybody had been sitting socially distanced and that all members of the counsel had tested for coronavirus and were negative.

Instead of live evidence two statements were read aloud from witnesses who described the night their son’s friend was stabbed to death.

At the inquest opening for Mr Harling last year, the coroner revealed that the accountant had died of a single stab wound and could not be saved by paramedics at the scene.

At the time police officers had cordoned off the road where he was found and told residents to stay in their homes.

Thame Fire Station had also said on Twitter that firefighters were at the scene of a major car accident, which is believed to be connected.

Heartbroken relatives have paid tribute to the ‘irreplaceable son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin, friend and well-loved colleague’.

The trial continues.