Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Murder accused ex-policeman pistol-whipped wife, trial told

A retired RUC sergeant accused of murdering his wife once pointed his gun at her head and pistol-whipped her, a jury heard.

The alleged attack was said to have happened in 1981 while Joseph Alfred Haveron (right) and his wife Pauline were arguing.

Haveron, from Farm Lodge Grove in Greenisland, is on trial accused of murdering 53-year-old Pauline on April 18, 2010.

Her lover Andrew Jones, who was a friend of their son Jonathan, found her floating face down in the bath at her Huntingdale Green home in Ballyclare. She had been strangled.

At the time of the killing Haveron and his part-time nurse wife were in the process of an acrimonious divorce.

Yesterday Mrs Haveron's elderly mother Iris Howarth told the Belfast Crown Court jury that she remembered an incident when Jonathan was around four months old, and that later her daughter told her a “gun had been put to her head”.

Defence QC Gavan Duffy suggested to her the couple were arguing over Haveron taking their son to see his parents, but his wife did not want him to. However, Mrs Howarth said she was not aware of that.

Mrs Haveron's brother Philip Howarth also gave evidence, and told the jury that when he saw his sister that day she was upset and crying. He said she described to him how an |argument had |escalated before she “took Jonathan in her arms and she knelt before Joe and he took out his personal firearm and pointed it at her head”.

Mr Howarth said he was so alarmed at what he had been told he went to get the police, but left the room when his sister recounted her side to the officers.

Mr Duffy suggested to him that, in fact, the 58-year-old former sergeant had left his gun locked in a station locker at the time. Mr Howarth told him he couldn’t comment on that.

One of the officers who spoke to Mrs Haveron that day, retired sergeant Cecil Williamson, told the court that Mrs Haveron never mentioned such a complaint.

He added that he himself had witnessed his former colleague being aggressive towards his wife.

Later a former neighbour, Alexandra Hill, gave evidence that Mrs Haveron had told her about it in a “quite distressed state”.

Under cross-examination from Mr Duffy, the lawyer said that, essentially, Mrs Haveron had alleged that “he had, in effect, pistol-whipped her”.

Mrs Hill agreed, adding that she believed the incident had been reported to the police.

The trial continues.

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