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Details emerged as a Michael Stirling, 32, appeared in court charged with her murder.

The 28-year-old midwife’s body was found in a rural area near Caverswall, Staffordshire on Saturday.

Ms Eastwood was last seen alive in her uniform leaving work at Royal Stoke University on July 27.

Striling is the brother-in-law of Ms Eastwood’s ex-fiancé John Peake.

He is accused of murdering Ms Eastwood between July 26 and August 5 at Baddeley Green in Stoke-on-Trent.

Striling appeared in at Stafford Crown Court court via live videolink wearing a grey t-shirt.

He spoke only to confirm his name, age and nationality. 

The court heard the first post-mortem examination did not reveal evidence of a gun shot or stab wounds.

Experts will continue to analyse the body but the court was warned it could take six months for results.

Prosecutor Jonas Hankin QC told the court that two different experts need to assess Ms Eastwood's neck.

The case was adjourned until October 5 where Stirling will appear Northampton Crown Court for a trial and preparation hearing. He was remanded in custody.

A provisional trial date has been set for February 4 in Birmingham, but Judge Michael Challinor said it would likely change.

Staffordshire police said two other men, aged 28 and 60, were also arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender, but have been released on conditional bail as inquires continue.

Ms Eastwood’s sister Gemma took away some of the cards and keepsakes left by well wishers at the midwife’s home on Monday.

Her ex-fiance paid tribute with a bouquet of flowers.

In a statement issued through the Staffordshire force, the midwife's family said: "We would like to say 'thank you' to all the people who followed Samantha's story and tried their best to help."

After it was confirmed a body had been found, University Hospitals of North Midlands chief nurse Liz Rix described Ms Eastwood as "an absolutely dedicated and committed midwife" and a much loved part of the team.

She said: ”Our thoughts are with her family and friends during this time.”

Family, friends, colleagues and well-wishers have been invited to pause and remember Ms Eastwood at 7:20pm this Friday.

More than 2,000 people have pledged to take part in the ‘Light a candle in memory of Samantha Eastwood’ event, including her ex-fiance John Peake.

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