A MAN today walked free from court after a judge heard he could not have been guilty of a murder he had confessed to.

Jamie Nicholson, 30, had been accused of the murder of Belinda Dalby, 26, at a hostel in Southampton on June 13.

Winchester Crown Court heard today that a post mortem report revealed Mr Nicholson was innocent of the killing of Miss Dalby, whose body was found at the Jordan House Hostel on Millbrook Road East.

Stuart Ellacott, prosecuting, said this afternoon: "We received the post mortem report which now means in effect the Crown is unable to put forward the case for murder.

"It would seem this was an unfortunate death caused by a self inflicted overdose of drugs.

"The reason for the charge was there was a ligature around the neck. The post mortem report said that can be discounted as a cause of death."

During the eight minute hearing, Mr Nicholson sat in the dock sipping water, twitching nervously and flanked by two security guards.

Mr Ellacott added: "The crown will be offering no evidence."

The court heard that Mr Nicholson walked into a police station and told police that "I have killed somebody, Belinda Dalby, in my flat last night."

He later told an officer when he was formally arrested; "I'm guilty, I did it."

Nick Tucker, defending, said his client believed he had contributed to the death.

He said: "There was the assumption when he found her dead he must have been responsible, but he has no recollection."

Mr Tucker said there was some suggestion that Mr Nicholson and Miss Dalby may have been playing a sex game involving the ligature.

Mr Nicholson was formally arraigned with the murder allegedly commited between June 11 and June 14 and he pleaded not guilty.

The Recorder of Winchester, Judge Keith Cutler, formally discharged the defendant and told him: "I'm not going to say any more. You are now discharged from the dock but please, go carefully."

A couple believed to be Mr Nicholson's parents were in the public gallery, but declined to speak to the Daily Echo as they left court.