Northern Ireland

Charlotte Murray: Murder accused told colleague - 'I didn't harm her'

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

A man accused of killing his fiancee became very upset after being questioned by the police about her disappearance, a court has heard.

The claim was made during the trial of John Patrick Miller, 48, from Redford Park, Dungannon, who told a colleague "I didn't harm her".

He denies murdering Charlotte Murray on a date unknown between 30 October and 2 November 2012.

She was reported missing by her family in 2013.

In 2017 the police said they believed she had been murdered.

Her body has never been found.

'Hard to live with'

Anthony Girvan was a barman who worked with the couple at the Cohannon Inn near Coalisland.

He described Mr Miller as hardworking and never aggressive, angry or jealous while Charlotte was very quiet and kept herself to herself.

Mr Miller told him his relationship with Charlotte had come to an end, telling him "she had become pretty hard to live with".

Image caption John Miller denies murdering his fiancee

He said there was no change in Mr Miller's behaviour in the six months after Charlotte was last seen.

But when Mr Miller was visited by the police after she was reported missing by her family Mr Girvan said he "became really upset".

Mr Girvan gave a statement to the police saying Mr Miller was crying when he told him "I didn't harm her".

He said he also advised Mr Miller to go to the police about Facebook posts he had received from Charlotte's family.

'I'm going away'

Two other witnesses said Charlotte had told them she was leaving Moy.

Her friend Michelle Watt said she received a text message on 1 November 2012 which said: "I'm going away. Be good."

She described this as "a bolt out of the blue" and she sent Charlotte texts and tried calling her but said she received no reply.

Ms Watt said at first she was very shocked that she never heard from her, but thought Charlotte "was just moving on with her life".

She said when she spoke to John Miller in November "he was very concerned about her, as well as myself".

She said Charlotte was not happy working at the Cohannon Inn and was "someone who wanted a new life".

A publican, who had a brief affair with Charlotte in October 2012, said she told him she was leaving at the end of the month.

He tried repeatedly to contact her by phone and by text in November, including one message which said he would contact the police if he didn't hear from her.

But he confirmed he had no intention of going to the police and said: "I didn't see a need to."

'You'd always hear from her'

Members of Charlotte's family also gave evidence describing the difficult relationship she had with her brothers and sisters.

Her brother Aidan Murray said he had not seen her for a year and a half.

He admitted Charlotte went missing at times but insisted "eventually you'd always hear from her".

He was asked by the prosecution: "Had she ever disappeared for years?"

"No," he replied.

The trial continues.

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