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Husband accused of murder set for verdict

By Enda McClafferty

Published 24/03/1999

A VERDICT was expected to be returned today in the trial of John Crossan from Londonderry, accused of the murder of his wife Caroline.

A VERDICT was expected to be returned today in the trial of John Crossan from Londonderry, accused of the murder of his wife Caroline.

Judge John Shiel was due to spend much of the morning directing the jury and refreshing their memory of details of the case which has taken three weeks to hear.

Yesterday, the defence called the couple's 12-year-old daughter to the stand.

Dressed in a green sweater and tracksuit bottoms, the pony- tailed schoolgirl spent 20 minutes in the witness stand.

She said she was in bed when she heard her mother calling for her father, and then her father called to her to come downstairs.

She had not heard any fight or struggle, she said and added: 'I ran down the stairs and saw my Daddy standing at the kitchen door. There was smoke in the kitchen. I did not see my mother.

'Daddy shouted at me to ring the fire brigade and the ambulance and the woman at the other end of the phone told me to get out of the house.'The child then described how she got her two younger brothers Johnny (10) and Peter (3) out of bed and ran to a neighbour's house.

Under cross examination by Crown prosecutor Jackie Orr, the witness told how she had seen a pool of blood near the washing machine in the kitchen.

But she could not recall if she had seen her mother at any stage during that night.

She also said that part of the sofa which was later found broken was intact when she had gone to bed.

In summing up the case for the Prosecution Mrs Orr said that all the 'high calibre' medical and forensic evidence shows 'beyond reasonable doubt' that the defendant murdered his wife after subjecting her to a vicious assault.

She dismissed as 'ludicrous' defence suggestions that an intruder had committed the murder.

'That evidence was bizzare, incredible, and an insult to you the jury.'In his summing up defence barrister Arthur Harvey QC described the police investigation as a 'shambles' and he also claimed that much of the forensic evidence was based around speculation.

Belfast Telegraph

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