Northern Ireland

Leslie Ross charged with murder of two Dromore women

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Media captionLeslie Ross appeared in court on Friday morning

A man has been charged with the murders of two women five years apart in a County Down town.

Leslie Ross, 66, from Dromore, appeared at Armagh Magistrates' Court on Friday.

He is accused of murdering 47-year-old Michelle Bickerstaff who was found dead in April 2012 and Margaret Weise, 50, who died in August 2007.

Mr Ross was also charged with indecent assault, gross indecency with a child and indecently assaulting a female child.

He did not speak during the short hearing.

Leslie Ross's solicitor, Conleth Downey, told reporters outside the court that his client would be denying all the charges.

"In essence, Mr Ross has indicated that he categorically and vehemently denies all allegations of wrong-doing, that has been pointed out to the court this morning, and at the earliest opportunity he will robustly defend all these matters," he said.

Members of the women's families were in court and some were in tears as the accused was remanded in custody.

No application for bail was made, although the lawyer said they would be applying for bail at a later stage.

The prosecution said they would object to any application on various grounds.

The police say a file surrounding the circumstances of a third woman's death a decade ago has been forwarded to the Public Prosecution Service.

Previously detectives had described 52-year-old Lily McKee's death as suspicious.