Northern Ireland

Eddie Girvan murder: Woman accused of murdering pensioner denied bail

The Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast
Image caption Margaret Henderson was denied bail due to 'risks of re-offending'

A woman accused of murder injected herself with heroin after she allegedly stabbed, bound and gagged a pensioner in his home, the High Court has heard.

Margaret Henderson, 30, is accused of killing 67-year-old Eddie Girvan in his home in Greenisland, County Antrim.

The court heard claims that Mr Girvan pointed a sword at her during a row at the house on Station Road.

She was refused bail in the hearing. Defence lawyers said she denies the murder charge.

They added that her actions were in "self-defence".

Prosecutors said Mr Girvan's body was discovered tied up and seated inside his home on Station Road where he collected antiques and jewellery.

He had stab wounds to his chest and his shorts were round his ankles.

The court heard that officers had gone to the address to investigate a suspected burglary linked to a hit-and-run road collision at Donegall Quay in Belfast.

A Hyundai car belonging to the victim is believed to have been involved in the accident.

Henderson, a mother-of-two who was staying in a hostel on Verner Street in the city, had been arrested at that time on a separate bench warrant.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Eddie Girvan was found dead in his home in Greenisland in January

While she was being taken into custody police found keys for the Hyundai and a satellite navigation system registered to Mr Girvan's address, the court heard.

The vehicle was later recovered outside the hostel.

'Gagged'

During police interviews Henderson allegedly admitted stabbing the pensioner, taking his car and also a gold chain she coerced others into pawning for her at a shop in Belfast.

Prosecution lawyers said Henderson claimed to have been with Mr Girvan when an argument led to him producing a sword and pointing it at her.

"She said she stabbed him with a knife used to cut cakes and then tied his hands and gagged him with kitchen roll to stop him shouting," the barrister said.

"She then stated that she injected herself with heroin at his house, stole his car and key, drove his vehicle which was involved in a collision on Donegall Quay and drove off back to her address where she was arrested."

As part of opposition to bail it was claimed that Henderson's drug addiction may lead to further offences.

A defence lawyer confirmed his client denies the murder charge.

"Based on the facts outlined this was certainly not a frenzied attack," he said.

"Ms Henderson describes being in fear, she describes being scared and she explains that her actions were in self-defence."

The court was told that the accused's continued addiction is linked to a family tragedy, but that she has been drug-free and achieved stability in her life since going into custody.

But denying bail, Mrs Justice Keegan cited the risks of re-offending and potential interference with the course of justice.