Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

Woman accused of killing toddler son in Tonagh area of Lisburn appears in court

Tragic: A red toy truck lay in the front yard of the Lisburn house where a three-year-old boy was found dead, as officers guarded the property in a patrol car on July 4. Photo by Claire Cromie
Tragic: A red toy truck lay in the front yard of the Lisburn house where a three-year-old boy was found dead. Photo by Claire Cromie

A mother charged with the murder of her three-year-old son has appeared in court.

Michelle Owens was arrested in connection with the death of Brendan Owens, who was found in her home at Trinity Terrace in the Tonagh area of Lisburn in the early hours of July 4.

It is understood that the young mother had only lived in the newly refurbished terraced property near the city centre for a couple of months.

At the time detectives made door-to-door inquiries to try to establish the circumstances surrounding the boy's death.

A post-mortem into the toddler's death was inconclusive.

A murder investigation was launched on Thursday and the 27-year-old was arrested along with a 51-year-old man.

He was later released on bail pending further inquiries, and it is not yet known what new evidence prompted the murder probe.

Michelle Owens was charged on Thursday and appeared yesterday at Lisburn Magistrates Court wearing a baggy, navy jumper and trousers. Family members were in attendance and they fell silent as they watched the police vehicle arrive with Ms Owens inside.

The slim, dark-haired defendant sat between two police officers in the court and did not speak during her court appearance.

She stood surrounded by police officers as she was accused by prosecutors of committing the murder on July 3.

A PSNI detective constable was called to the stand where he told the court he believed he could connect her to the charge.

There was no application for bail and no questions were asked by the defence lawyers and she was remanded in custody.

The judge ordered that Ms Owens should reappear in court on October 7 via video-link.

The funeral of three-year-old Brendan took place on July 9 in St Patrick's Church in Lisburn and the toddler was buried minutes from his home in a grave along with his great-grandparents.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph on Thursday, Lisburn SDLP councillor Pat Catney said the community were devastated.

"It's a real tragedy, terribly sad," he added.

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