Image copyright Ian Taylor/Geograph Image caption The prosecution opened the case but concerns were raised during the lunch break

The trial of a man accused of a woodland murder was temporarily halted by a judge to allow jurors aged over 70 to go home amid the coronavirus crisis.

The three were among 12 people selected at Preston Crown Court to hear the case against 18-year-old Brian Healless.

The prosecution opened the case but concerns were raised during the lunch break over the trio sitting on it.

Discharging the jury, Judge Mark Brown told the court he was "mindful" of Boris Johnson's message about over-70s.

"I hope you will understand when I say that we are doing our very best to try to ensure that the justice system can continue to function effectively," he said.

"We are very mindful of the crisis and very sensitive to the position of those who fall into the group identified yesterday by the Prime Minister.

"I am aware that three of you fall into that category and consequently I have to be sensitive to your position."

He added that rather than continuing with the trial, a "better course of action" was to discharge the jury to allow the trial to start again.

A fresh jury was then sworn in.

Healless admits unlawfully killing Alex Davies, 18, at Parbold Hill in Lancashire last April but denies murder.

The trial continues.

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