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Charlotte Murray murder perverting justice charges delayed until outcome of appeal

Charlotte Murray
Charlotte Murray

A case involving charges of perverting the course of justice in the Charlotte Murray murder have been delayed awaiting the outcome of appeal proceedings launched by the man convicted of her killing.

Last seen alive in 2012, Charlotte was later reported missing and enquiries led police to escalate this to a murder investigation.

Despite exhaustive searches her body has never been found.

In October 2019, a jury at Dungannon Crown Court unanimously found Charlotte’s former partner John Patrick Miller guilty of her murder.

However, an appeal against conviction was heard last month and judgement is awaited.

In recent developments Brian Ernest Barnard of Currans Brae, Moy faces three counts of making false statements to police in July 2013 as well as January and June 2018.

Members of Charlotte’s family, including her mother were in attendance for the hearing.

No details surrounding the circumstances of the allegations were disclosed during the short hearing before Dungannon Magistrates’ Court on Friday where a defence solicitor, Jarlath Falloon, explained an adjournment was sought on the basis of Miller’s appeal and the outcome “may impact on my client.”

Deputy District Judge Gerry Trainor listed the case for review on 22 December.

When convicted Miller gasped in disbelief as the verdict was read out, before leaning forward in the dock and placing his face in hands.

Throughout cross-examination Miller, previously of Redford Park, Dungannon denied killing Charlotte (34) on a date between 30 October and 1 November 2012.

She disappeared from the house they shared in Roxborough Heights, Moy, leaving behind her dog Bella, and a Peugeot car which he later sold.

He maintained Charlotte was still alive, that he never killed her, and he hoped she would someday, “walk in the door and say sorry for all this”.

After four weeks of evidence, Judge Stephen Fowler KC recapped both the prosecution and defence cases, describing events from Charlotte’s last known movements.

He told the jury of eight men and four women the evidence had to convince them of three matters, the being that Charlotte Murray was dead; the second that Miller killed her and the third, at the time of the killing he either intended to kill her, or intended, at the very least to cause her really serious harm.

In that instance, said the judge, “You must return a verdict of murder. If he killed her by accident and didn’t intend to do so, you must find him guilty of manslaughter. If you don’t know where the truth lies, the prosecution have not made out their case and you must acquit.”

However, the jury took just over three hours to reach a unanimous guilty verdict.

Members of both families were seated in the public gallery, having attended every day of the trial.

Charlotte’s mother and twin sister wept silently and were comforted by family and friends, while others briefly broke out in applause.

Miller’s parents and sister appeared stunned.

Judge Fowler told Miller, now visibly shaking and crying, “You have been found guilty of murder and the only sentence is life imprisonment. You will be remanded in custody.”

He was handcuffed and taken to the cells, looking briefly toward family members as he passed them.

The same day, it emerged police had decided to drain a flooded quarry in Benburb in the hope of finding Charlotte’s remains.

While this operation went ahead and lasted a number of days, nothing was found.

Charlotte’s grieving family have consistently called on Miller to “do the right thing” and tell them what became of her body so they can lay her to rest.

At a later tariff hearing Miller was told he will spend 16 years in prison before he is eligible for release.

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