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Further twist in Charlotte Murray murder as man accused of perverting justice

Charlotte Murray

A further twist has emerged in the Charlotte Murray murder case with a man now accused of perverting the course of justice.

Brian Ernest Barnard (52) of Currans Brae, Moy faces three counts alleging to have made false statements to police on July 11, 2013 as well as January 13 and June 26, 2018.

The case is listed for a committal hearing at Dungannon Magistrates’ Court on November 3, to transfer straight to trial, however, it is unclear if it will proceed on that date.

The case is before the court almost exactly 11 years after Charlotte was murdered.

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

He 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 October 30 and November 1, 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 the act of manslaughter. If you don’t know where the truth lies, the prosecution have not made out their case and you must acquit.”

Having retired to commence deliberations, the jury took just over three hours to reach a unanimous 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 at family members as he passed them.

The same day, it was discovered police had decided to drain a flooded quarry 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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