Northern Ireland

Strangle suspect linked to two high-profile murders

Court

A man accused of strangling an ex-prisoner in Belfast more than 20 years ago is being investigated in connection with two other "high-profile" murders, the High Court has heard.

Prosecutors said the unidentified killings were being re-examined after DNA was taken from David Mayberry Wallace.

Mr Wallace, 50, has been charged with murdering Stanley Close, 64, in 1986.

The victim served 10 years in jail for shooting dead a man at a bar in 1971.

DNA

Mr Wallace, from Northern Ireland, but with an address at Shaw Street in Bury in Lancashire, was arrested by detectives in May.

Previously, during an application for bail, it was claimed that DNA evidence linked him to the killing.

According to the prosecution, blood samples matching Mr Wallace were found in Mr Close's flat, with the chances of them belonging to anyone else put at a billion to one.

Blood found on a kitchen work-top was said to be 10-12 feet from a bedroom where the body was discovered.

Further low-copy number DNA tests are to be carried out on more samples recovered from the scene.

Following an adjournment to check on proposed bail locations, a crown lawyer stressed on Thursday that finding a suitable address was not the only concern.

Kate McKay told the court investigations had continued since Mr Wallace's DNA was obtained last month.

"With that now in police possession, other crimes are being looked at," she said.

"He is facing a murder charge and, potentially, other serious charges including two high-profile murders."

Mrs McKay added: "The team that are dealing with this are dealing with historic cases.

"They have now obtained DNA from someone, got a full profile in respect of the murder of this man, Mr Close.

'Evidence'

"Based on that evidence they now have, namely his DNA profile, there are other matters now being looked into."

A lawyer for Mr Wallace, who has not been charged with any other crimes, told the court the accused's sister was prepared to let him stay at her house in Dundonald if bailed.

He added that police have also checked the Bury address, and rejected prosecution concerns about relatives of Mr Close who are set to be witnesses at any trial.

"Those witnesses have no input whatsoever into the facts of the murder, the circumstances of the murder, or evidence which may or may not lead to the case going to trial and proceeding," he said.

Following submissions, the application for bail was adjourned for a second time.

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