Northern Ireland

Charlotte Murray 'tried to rekindle' relationship before disappearance

Missing Omagh woman Charlotte Murray Image copyright Other
Image caption Charlotte Murray was 34 when she was reported missing in 2012

A woman allegedly murdered by her fiance tried to rekindle a relationship with another man in the months before she disappeared, a court has heard.

John Patrick Miller, 48, from Redford Park, Dungannon, denies murdering Charlotte Murray on a date unknown between 30 October and 2 November 2012.

She was reported missing by her family in 2013. Her body has never been found.

The trial at Dungannon Crown Court heard from Brian McCoy, who had a brief relationship with Ms Murray in 2008.

They continued to stay in touch.

She told him she was engaged to Mr Miller and that he was a "calming influence on her".

But she later told him she was unhappy with the relationship.

Image caption John Miller denies murdering his fiancee

Mr McCoy said she contacted him to meet for a drink but he was then in a relationship with someone else and said no.

'Hitch up'

Soon afterwards he said he received a call from Mr Miller asking him to leave Ms Murray alone.

He said he did not believe Mr Miller was acting unreasonably and conceded he might have done the same in similar circumstances.

"It was a very calm phone call," he said, adding "his tone wasn't raised".

Ms Murray, who was originally from Omagh, later told him that she had split up with Mr Miller and intended to move to Belfast, where he was living.

Mr McCoy was asked if he thought she wanted to "hitch up" with him.

"Charlotte was not one for commitment," he said.

"It was a more casual thing. She wanted to rekindle something with me on a casual basis."

'Flurry of activity'

He told the court the last time he heard from Ms Murray was Halloween night in 2012, when he received three text messages.

He said he tried to call her the following day but never heard from her again.

"Charlotte was like that," he said.

"There might be a flurry of activity over a day or two, then you might not hear from her for eight months."

The first time Mr McCoy was aware that Ms Murray was missing was a phone call from the police.

'Definitely genuine'

The owner of the Cohannon Inn, where Mr Miller and Ms Murray both worked, also gave evidence.

Karen Bowe said Ms Murray worked her last shift there on 29 October 2012.

She said she was told by Mr Miller, who is originally from Coleraine, that she was not returning to work.

Her outstanding wage of £237.34 was never collected.

Ms Bowe said Mr Miller was a "very good and valued employee" and was "very level-headed".

She said there was no change in his behaviour after Ms Murray left and "he worked just as hard and his timekeeping was just as good".

She described how he became very upset when police took his keys to search the house he had shared with Ms Murray at Roxborough Heights in Moy.

She said she believed his distress was "definitely genuine".

"I wanted to do anything I could to help him through that difficult stage," she said.

The trial will resume on Monday.

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