Keith Beviss, of Honiton, has appeared at Exeter Crown Court charged with the murder of Westward Ho! man Philip Ryan.

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

Keith Beviss, of Woodhayes Drive, Honiton, appeared by video link at Exeter Crown Court today (Thursday).

The 54-year-old was charged with the murder of Philip Ryan, 55, from Westward Ho! at the Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall in Dowell Street, Honiton, on Tuesday, June 6.

Beviss was not required to enter a plea and will not enter one until a psychiatric report looking into his mental health can be obtained.

Philip Ryan, from Westward Ho! was found dead in Honiton and a man has been charged with his murder.Philip Ryan, from Westward Ho! was found dead in Honiton and a man has been charged with his murder.

A provisional date for the trial has been set for November 27.

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.

Mr Ryan, from Westward Ho! 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 a ‘kind, gentle and intelligent man’.

Mr Ryan’s widow Sandra issued a statement after her husband’s death.

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.”