A Dagenham mum has pleaded not guilty to murdering her two young sons.

Kara Alexander, 45, is charged over the deaths of Marley Thomas, five, and Elijah Thomas, two.

The brothers were last seen alive on the afternoon of December 15 last year.

The next afternoon, police officers were called after the children’s father became concerned for their welfare.

He forced entry to their home in Cornwallis Road and found the boys lifeless.

The ambulance service attended and confirmed the children were dead.

The defendant was allegedly found in a nearby garden, and detained by police.

Yesterday (March 30), Alexander appeared at the Old Bailey for a plea hearing before Judge Richard Marks KC.

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She denied two charges of murder on or before December 16 last year.

Alexander, who is in custody, is due to stand trial at the Old Bailey from July 10.

The judge set a further pre-trial hearing for May 18.

Reporting by PA.