A 27-year-old man has appeared in court charged with murdering three pensioners.

Alexander Lewis-Ranwell, from Croyde, North Devon, appeared at Exeter Magistrates’ Court on Saturday to face five charges.

He is accused of murdering Anthony Payne, 80, and twins Dick and Roger Carter, 84, in Exeter between February 10 and 12.

He is also accused of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to John Ellis in Barnstaple on February 9.

He faces the same charge in relation to Stasys Belevicius in Exeter on February 11.

The bearded defendant, wearing a grey top, spoke throughout the brief hearing.

He stood in the dock of courtroom one, flanked by custody staff and police officers.

Chair of the bench Mr Routh told him: “Mr Lewis-Ranwell, we are sending this matter to the Crown Court.

“You will be produced on Monday at 9.45 for a bail hearing and for a preliminary hearing on March 21 at Exeter Crown Court.”

Prosecuting, Joanna Clark invited magistrates to send the case to the Crown Court given the three murder charges faced by Lewis-Ranwell.

Floral tributes left outside 109 Cowick Lane, Exeter, where the bodies of twins Dick and Roger Carter, aged 84, were discovered Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Katrina Byrne, representing the defendant, did not make any representations.

Mr Payne was found dead at an address in Bonhay Road on Monday, while the bodies of the Carter twins were discovered at their home in Cowick Lane the following day.

Lewis-Ranwell was arrested on Tuesday evening. Devon and Cornwall Police charged him with the three murders and two charges of grievous bodily harm on Friday evening.

He was remanded in custody and will next appear before Exeter Crown Court on Monday.