THE former partner of Charlotte Murray, who was reported missing in 2013, is to stand trial for her murder later this year, following a hearing at Dungannon Crown Court sitting in Belfast.
The two first met while working at Lusty Beg hotel complex near Kesh.
John Patrick Miller (48) who is originally from Coleraine but now resides at Redford Park, Dungannon, replied “not guilty” when the charge of murder on a date between October 31 and November 2 2012, was put to him.
During the brief hearing, Mr Justice Colton was advised the trial, which is to begin in September, is expected to last up to four weeks.
However as yet no venue has been selected as Miller’s defence team said that there may be “some prejudice” if the case was tried in the Tyrone-Fermanagh court division.
Defence counsel said, “This case would have a little bit of notoriety” after police had put out a number of appeals to the media for information over Charlotte’s disappearance.
The judge said he would review the position of a venue in two weeks.
No details were given in court of the circumstances surrounding the case, but during a previous hearing at Dungannon Magistrates Court, a detective sergeant said police believe Miller murdered Charlotte after he became aware she had a brief relationship with another man.
He added traces of her blood were found in a bathroom at the house the couple shared at the time at the Moy, Co Tyrone.
A defending lawyer rejected this assertion, stating “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.”
Charlotte was originally from Omagh but had been living in the Moy, and worked in the Cohannon Inn nearby with Miller.
The couple met some time before while working at Lusty Beg in Fermanagh.
They left and began new jobs together, as well as setting up home in the Moy.
Shortly before her disappearance, she was looking for other work, and had been offered a sales job in Belfast.
Charlottes’ family reported her missing in 2013 and afterwards the disappearance would be upgraded to a murder enquiry.
Despite extensive police inquiries and appeals for information, the detective said her body has never been found.
Posted: 9:09 am March 15, 2019