Northern Ireland

Fr Conleth Byrne denies £150,000 fraud charge

A retired Catholic priest has denied defrauding his former County Down parish of nearly £150,000.

Fr Conleth Byrne, 78, allegedly paid money to a woman from the funds of his former parish of Loughinisland.

It is alleged that the money was taken over a 19-month period up to October 2009.

No details surrounding the fraud were given to Downpatrick Crown Court, as his trial was fixed for the end of January in the New Year.

When the single charge of fraud was read, Fr Byrne replied "not guilty".