Northern Ireland

Palm prints link accused to 1973 murder

Eileen Doherty
Image caption Eileen Doherty was 19 when she was shot dead in 1973

Palm prints link a man to the alleged killing of a Catholic woman in Belfast 37 years ago, a court heard on Tuesday.

Police said that there was a scientific basis for charging Robert Rodgers with the murder of Eileen Doherty.

The 57-year-old was arrested after the case was re-opened by the PSNI's serious crime branch earlier this year.

Ms Doherty, 19, was shot dead at Annadale Embankment after getting into a taxi in September 1973.

She was on her way home to the Andersonstown area after visiting a friend when the vehicle was hijacked.

A detective constable told Belfast Magistrates Court that he could connect Mr Rodgers with the killing.

Questioned by defence lawyer John Finuncane, the officer disclosed that palm prints formed part of the evidential case.

He said prints taken from the accused after his arrest were compared with those taken from the crime scene.

Mr Finuncane told the court Mr Rodgers of Tierney Gardens, Belfast, strenuously denied the murder charge.

He added: "It will be the defendant's intention to lodge an abuse (of process) application at a later date."

District Judge Fiona Bagnall said there was sufficient information to connect Mr Rodgers with Ms Doherty's death.

After being told the police file should be ready in "a relatively short period" she remanded the accused on continuing bail.

He will appear again before the court in February.