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Body-in-boot murder: Stephanie Todd (25) 'drove Kyle Neil's body away from scene', court hears

By Paul Higgins

Published 15/04/2015

Stephanie Todd arriving in a police vehicle at Newtownards Courthouse
Stephanie Todd arriving in a police vehicle at Newtownards Courthouse
Stephanie Todd arriving in a police vehicle at Newtownards Courthouse
26-year-old Wesley Vance arriving handcuffed in a police prison van at Newtownards Courthouse. He is charged with murdering north Belfast man Kyle Neil
Kyle Neill whose body was found in the boot of a car in south Belfast on Sunday
Forensics officers remove a car from Mill Road in Comber during the investigation into the murder of Kyle Neill whose body was found in the boot of a car in south Belfast on Sunday
Officers searching surrounding area of Mill road in Comber
Police officers removing a bin from the scene at an apartment block on the Mill road in Comber, Co Down in relation to a body found in a car in south Belfast. Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph.
Stephanie Todd arriving in a police vehicle at Newtownards Courthouse
Police forensics officers examine the car in which the body of a man was discovered in Windsor Road, south Belfast, yesterday
Forensic officers at Church Gate studios in Comber
Photo issued by PSNI of a Ford Fiesta, after a Kyle Neil was found dead in the boot of the car.

A Belfast woman is accused of assisting the alleged killer of Kyle Neil by driving the body away from the murder scene.

Stephanie Todd (25) appeared before Newtownards Magistrates Court on Wednesday morning. Flanked by prison guards, she spoke only to confirm that she understood the two charges against her.

Kyle Neil
Kyle Neil

On Tuesday at the same court, Wesley Harry Vance (26), from Church Gate Studios in Comber, was charged with the murder of Mr Neil. The body of the 23-year-old father-of-one was found in the boot of a car in south Belfast early on Sunday.

Todd, from Russell Court on Claremont Street in South Belfast, is accused of assisting an offender in that knowing or believing murder had been committed, she allegedly drove Wesley Vance and the body of Kyle Neil "away from the scene" in order to impede Vance's "apprehension, arrest or prosecution" - and a further charge of drink driving.

Detective Constable Adam Cook said he believed he could connect Todd to the charges and confirmed to her defence solicitor that throughout three days of police interviews, she had answered all questions but that "throughout she denied her involvement."

Vance's defence solicitor Denis Moloney had told the court on Tuesday that his client had admitted stabbing his friend during police interviews but claimed he had acted in fear of his life.

He said: "The defendant made full, frank, clear and open admissions with regards to his involvement in this tragedy."

District Judge Mark Hamill heard that police had agreed to Todd being released on bail with multiple conditions.

Releasing Todd on her own bail of £1,000 with two sureties of £1,000 each, Judge Hamill also barred Todd from consuming alcohol, entering Comber, travelling outside of Northern Ireland and from contacting either witnesses or her co-accused.

She was also ordered to report to police three times a week, to reside at an address approved by police, to observe a curfew from 8pm to 7am and barred from applying for a passport.

After a prosecution lawyer suggested the case be adjourned for eight weeks, Judge Hamill ordered Todd to come back to court on 10 June.

Vance is due to appear before the court via videolink on 8 May.

Read more:

Body-in-boot murder: Kyle Neil's friend admits role in 'frenzied' knife killing - but says he acted in fear  

Comber residents stunned at murder crime scene on a sleepy Sunday morning

Body-in-boot victim Kyle Neil was injured in incident week before his murder  

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