A MAN accused of murdering Southampton airport worker Gerald Pragnell has appeared in court.

Tommy Scott allegedly “strangled” Mr Pragnell, who was found in woodland just off Cemetery Road, Southampton, on Saturday, November 3.

At Southampton Magistrates’ Court yesterday, Scott, of no fixed abode, wore a grey sweatshirt and spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth, address and nationality.

The 34-year-old did not enter a plea and his case was sent to Winchester Crown Court, where he will next appear on Thursday.

During the hearing, prosecutor Liam Hunter said: “The brief outline of the facts is that Mr Pragnell was allegedly strangled by this defendant on November 3.”

An application to remand Scott into custody was not challenged by Chris Gaiger, representing him, who added he had nothing more to add on his client’s behalf.

District Judge Lorraine Morgan confirmed he would remain in custody and said: “You case will go to Winchester Crown Court and you will be remanded into custody before going before the court.

“You will appear via video link to be produced to the court.

“You will have the opportunity to talk to your representatives before the hearing.”

Scott was charged with the murder of Mr Pragnell late on Monday night following his arrest over the weekend.

Tributes were paid to Mr Pragnell, 66, who worked for the Eastleigh-based airport.

He was described as a valued employee whose death had left colleagues “tremendously saddened”.

Mr Pragnell had lived on houseboats in the River Itchen for more than 30 years.

Last December he appeared in an episode of the Channel 4 series My Floating Home, which followed the construction of a futuristic fibreglass vessel designed by his boatbuilder son Aidan.

The 35ft boat boasted a glass window in the floor which allowed him to watch aquatic life beneath the hull.

Mr Pragnell lived at Shamrock Quay, Southampton, where his son’s firm Marina Boats is also located.

In a statement issued last night they said: “We are tremendously saddened by the death of Gerald Pragnell.

His murder has stunned colleagues at Southampton Airport, where had worked for 11 years.

“He was employed by APCOA Parking, one of our business partners, as night customer services advisor and was a valued member of the airport family.

“Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this extremely sad and difficult time.”

Six other people who were arrested in connection with the incident were released from custody, but remain under investigation.