Northern Ireland

Leslie Ross to be charged with third Dromore murder

Leslie Ross faces charges over the deaths of these three women Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption Leslie Ross faces charges over the deaths of these three women

A stonemason accused of murdering two former girlfriends will be prosecuted over the death of a third ex-partner.

Leslie Ross, 66, from Dromore, County Down, is to be charged with the murder of Lily McKee, a court has been told.

Last year, he was charged with the murders of former partners Michelle Bickerstaff and Margaret Weise.

At the time of the initial charges, police passed a file on the death of Ms McKee to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) for assessment.

At a court hearing in Newry, the PPS said they had decided to charge Mr Ross with the murder of Ms McKee, 52, in 2002.

A spokesperson for the PPS said: "Today [Thursday] in court the PPS advised the court that a decision had been taken to prosecute Leslie Ross for the three murders."

Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Leslie Ross has already been charged with the murders of two former partners

Ms Bickerstaff, 47, was found dead in April 2012. She died in hospital after being found unconscious by her daughter in the house she shared in Dromore with Mr Ross.

Ms Weise, 50, was found dead in the town in August 2007.

Mr Ross's solicitor Conleth Downey said his client denied involvement in all three women's deaths.

Last year, Mr Ross was also charged with three other offences - indecent assault, gross indecency with a child and indecently assaulting a female child - all on dates between 1979 and 1990.

On Thursday, prosecutors withdrew those counts "without prejudice".

It is understood they will now be pursued through separate court proceedings at a later date.

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