SOUTHAMPTON Crown Court is set to host its first murder trial next week.

It comes after the court’s resident judge, His Honour Judge Christopher Parker QC, was given the murder ticket.

The term is applied in the case of any judge who has permission to hear murder trials.

It will be the first time a murder trial has been held in Southampton Crown Court since its creation in 1987.

According to one legal historian, it may be the first time a murder trial has been held in Southampton’s modern history.

Murder trials in Hampshire have, until now, been held at Winchester Crown Court.

The upcoming trial involves the death of Isle of Wight Councillor, Gerry White, 73.

Mr White’s body was discovered in woodland near Lake, Isle of Wight, on May 27.

Accused, Jonathan Stasiuk, 60, from Sandown, appeared before Southampton Crown Court earlier this year when he pleaded not guilty to murder but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Stasiuk was remanded in custody ahead of the murder trial set to begin on Monday.

Mr White, also from Sandown, was a pub landlord and had served on the Isle of Wight Council and Lake Parish Council.

He was chairman of Lake Parish Council in 2016 and 2017 and sat on Isle of Wight Council between 2009 and 2013.

Lake Parish Council paid tribute to him after his death, saying he “contributed much to the village, both as a councillor, and an entrepreneur, and was also a stalwart in the local Rotary”.

Mr White and Stasiuk were trustees at the charity Lake Community Gardens, a 16-acre site where Mr White’s body was found.

The trial will be prosecuted by Matthew Jewell QC, who is leading counsel, with CPS prosecutor Rob Welling as junior.

Stasiuk will be represented by Jo Martin QC, who is leading counsel, with Elisabeth Bussey-Jones as junior.