Beds, Herts & Bucks

Luton buried body: Jury discharged, accused may face retrial

Natalia Wilkanowska Image copyright Bedfordshire Police
Image caption Natalia Wilkanowska's body was found in the garden of a house in Luton in 2015

The jury in the trial of a man accused of keeping the murder of his sister-in-law secret for 12 years has been discharged.

Natalia Wilkanowska, 50, disappeared in 2003 after visiting her ex-husband Gerald Doherty in Luton.

Joseph Doherty, 73, of Port Glasgow, Renfrewshire, denied helping conceal her remains and lying to police.

The jury at Luton Crown Court could not agree on the charges against him. The prosecution intends to seek a retrial.

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Ms Wilkanowska's body was left under builder's rubble in the garden in Icknield Way, Luton, and was not discovered until December 2015.

The jury had been considering its verdict since Friday.

Mr Doherty, of Old Greenock Road, Port Glasgow, denied one charge of perverting the course of justice, one of obstructing the coroner by giving a false account of Ms Wilkanowska's death and one charge of preventing her lawful burial.

The case will be mentioned again in court on 3 February.

Image copyright SBNA
Image caption Ms Wilkanowska's body was found in the back garden of the Luton property in December 2015
Image copyright SBNA
Image caption Joseph Doherty could face a retrial after a jury could not decide a verdict

Last week the judge directed the jury to clear his younger brother 67-year-old Daniel Doherty, who owned the house where the remains were found.

The judge said that having heard the prosecution evidence, he concluded he had no case to answer.

Ms Wilkanowska's ex-husband hanged himself in July 2003 in a flat in Robert Street, Port Glasgow.

Image copyright SBNA
Image caption Daniel Doherty was cleared of five charges

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