Northern Ireland

Ex-boyfriend charged with Charlotte Murray's murder

Missing Omagh woman Charlotte Murray Image copyright other
Image caption Charlotte Murray was 34 when she was reported missing

An ex-boyfriend of missing County Tyrone woman Charlotte Murray has appeared in court charged with her murder.

Charlotte Murray, 34, went missing in October 2012, exactly five years ago.

John Patrick Miller, 46, of Redford Park, Dungannon, is charged with murdering her on 31 October or 1 November 2012.

He appeared by video link at Dungannon Magistrates' Court and was refused bail.

The court heard the couple had been sharing a home at Roxborough Heights in Moy throughout 2012, having met the year before.

A detective sergeant told the court police believe Mr Miller murdered Ms Murray after he became aware she had been having a brief relationship with another man, and that explicit images of them together had been forwarded to Mr Miller by email.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) detective added that spatters of Charlotte Murray's blood had been found in a bathroom at the house in Roxborough Heights that she had shared with Mr Miller.

However, defence lawyer Peter Corrigan swiftly responded: "The presence of blood does not signify a murder occurred in that house. Animal blood was also found there.

"There is no evidence a murder took place in the house."

'Faked phone messages'

Originally from Omagh, Ms Murray had been living in Moy, and had worked in the Cohannon Inn nearby.

Shortly before her disappearance, she had been looking for other work, and had been offered a sales job in Belfast.

Mr Miller, who is originally from Coleraine, had also been working at the Cohannon Inn.

Ms Murray's body has never been found.

The detective confirmed police were still searching for her remains.

They are also searching for a missing computer and mobile phone which they believe would offer valuable evidence.

Image copyright PSNI
Image caption Charlotte Murray's engagement ring

The police recently appealed for information about Ms Murray's engagement ring, bought in March 2012, and her Samsung Galaxy mobile phone.

Detectives believe that Mr Miller made internet enquiries about how to sell the engagement ring in the hours immediately after he murdered Ms Murray.

They also believe he faked phone messages from Ms Murray stating she had gone away, despite phone records indicating the phones sending and receiving the messages had both been at his own address.

Members of Ms Murray's family sat quietly in the public gallery during the hearing.

They had reported Ms Murray missing in 2013.

With the assistance of the PSNI, some of them had made an appeal for information just two weeks ago about Ms Murray's disappearance.

Denying a request for bail, the judge ordered Mr Miller to reappear by video link on 29 November.