A man today appeared in court charged with murdering a debt collector who went missing while doing her rounds. 

Geoffrey Hutton has formally been charged with the killing of Tina Cantello, 49, who was on the last of her three door-to-door collections when she disappeared.  

Mrs Cantello vanished on Friday in Basildon and her worried family contacted police to report she had not returned home. 

Hutton, 38, of Langdon Hills, was arrested at the weekend and Essex Police confirmed this morning he has been charged with murder. 

Hutton had a heavy medical bandage on his left arm, speaking only to confirm his name and address and say “Thank you sir” when Basildon Magistrates’ Court declined jurisdiction.

The stony-faced man was wearing a red prison-issue track suit when he stood behind the reinforced glass of the dock in Court Room One. 

No details on the case were heard beyond him being charged with one count of murder which took place at some point between June 7 and 10.

Chair of the magistrates bench Paul Fisher declined jurisdiction on the case and said: “We have no power to do anything today apart from remand you in custody to Chelmsford Crown Court where you will appear tomorrow.”

Mrs Cantello’s mobile phone was found abandoned at the side of the road with her distraught family describing the disappearance as ‘100 per cent out of character’. 

A missing person’s appeal was launched but then suspended 24 hours later when her body was found about two miles from where she was last seen in Basildon. 

Police revealed last night that tragic Mrs Cantello died of multiple stab wounds to the chest.

Hutton, understood to be a dad-of-two who formerly worked as a civil servant is listed as a finance officer for Ford motor company. 

A spokesman for Essex Police confirmed: "A post mortem examination was carried out and established that she died from multiple stab wounds to the chest."

Her devastated son Sam Malone has posted on Facebook thanking people for their support during the family’s nightmare ordeal. 

He wrote: “I love you Mum. Thank you everyone for your support. It has helped massively”.

Yesterday two police officers guarded the front door of Hutton’s home in the Langdon Hills area of the Essex town. 

Floral tributes have been left outside the brick building to Mrs Cantello. 

A card on one of the bouquets read “Our hearts are broken”

Another emotionally stated: “Desperately sad on your tragic loss, still in utter shock. Our love goes out to your family. Such a wonderful caring woman.”

Neighbours spoke at their shock that the dad-of-two had been potentially involved in the death of the popular mum. 

One said: “I’m shocked. The first I knew about it when I came home and saw police tape, it’s terrifying. 

“I’ve got kids of mine and it is just frightening.”

Mrs Cantello worked as a debt collector for Provident. 

Jade Byrne, communications manager, said: “The Essex police have informed us of the death of one of our colleagues, Tina Cantello.

"The police have launched an investigation and a man has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

"We are all deeply shocked and saddened by this tragic incident. Our immediate concern at this time is for the welfare of Tina’s family, to whom we offer our sincere condolences.

"Tina was a much loved and well respected colleague, who had been with Provident for over twenty-five years.

"She will be sorely missed by us and her customers, many of who regard her as part of the family. 

"The Company is fully supporting the police investigation."