Neighbours have expressed their shock after discovering that a man from Fleet had been charged with the murder of his 79-year-old mother.

Geoffrey Hobbis, 58, from Brookly Gardens appeared at Basingstoke Magistrates' Court on Tuesday morning (June 3) charged with the murder of Barbara Hobbis, who lived at the same address, on Saturday (May 31).

Pat Mackenzie, who has lived in Kevins Grove for 20 years - the road next to Brookly Gardens and where Barbara used to live - said she knew the pensioner for as long as she had lived there.

"She was a lovely, warm person," the 66-year-old told Get Hampshire. "She was always very friendly and very chatty.

"It came as a complete shock to me.

"I knew something was going on when I walked to the pond and saw police activity on Saturday and I wondered what it was."

She said that she would often see Barbara, who she said was retired, walking her dog up and down the road. She said she was always very smiley, and added that they would exchange Christmas cards.

Brookly Gardens, Fleet

Another Kevins Grove resident, who did not want to be named, also paid tribute to Barbara, saying: "She was a very nice lady and very friendly.

"She walked her dog every day and went to Fleet pond. She would always stop for a chat.

"If I was in the back garden and she could see me from the road she would wander up the road and have a chat.

"She absolutely loved Fleet pond and was animal mad.

"When she walked around Fleet pond everyone stopped to talk to her because of the dog."

"I can't believe it," she added. "I am still finding it impossible to believe. Total disbelief."

Councillor Sharyn Wheale, Hampshire County Council ward member for Fleet, said: "I was very saddened to hear about the situation, especially in my ward.

"It is upsetting for the whole community. It is such a close-knit community. I feel sorry for anybody that knew them."

Alan Oliver, representative for Fleet Central at Hart District Council, said it was a tragic event and very rare in the area.

"Our thoughts are with the family," Cllr Oliver said.

A post-mortem examination has been carried out but police would not reveal how Mrs Hobbis died.

Hobbis, who has not entered a plea, has been remanded in custody ahead of his next appearance at Winchester Crown Court on Thursday (June 5).