A date has been set for the trial of a woman accused of murdering a baby who was discovered in woodland 26 years ago.

Baby “Callum” was discovered close to the Gulliver’s World theme park in Warrington in March 1998.

Joanne Sharkey appeared at Liverpool Crown Court on Thursday charged with murder and concealment of the birth of a child.

The 54-year-old, of Denham Close, Liverpool, appeared via video-link from HMP Styal, wearing a black sweatshirt and jeans and with her brown hair tied up.

She spoke only to confirm her name and date of birth during the 10-minute hearing.

No application for bail was made.

Joanne Sharkey court case
Baby Callum’s funeral was arranged and paid for by the people of Warrington (Richard Williams/Liverpool Daily Post/PA)

Honorary Recorder of Liverpool Judge Andrew Menary remanded Sharkey in custody ahead of a hearing on July 25, when she will be asked to enter a plea.

A provisional trial date was fixed for January 14 2025 and is expected to last two weeks.

The baby was named Callum after the Callands district of Warrington where he was found, because detectives could not confirm his true identity.

A funeral service was arranged by local people and he was buried in Warrington Cemetery a few months later.

A headstone, which was paid for with money raised by local residents, was inscribed: “Baby Callum, precious child of God. Laid to rest July 27 1998. With love, from the people of Warrington.”