Belfast Telegraph

Bride-to-be died after ‘falling off the toilet’

A man accused of murdering his fiancee claimed her injuries were inflicted by falling off the toilet, the High Court heard yesterday.

Paul Stockman claimed Patricia Bardon refused to go to hospital after hurting herself at their apartment in south Belfast, prosecutors said.

She died on the same day they were due to get married.

It was also Ms Bardon’s 51st birthday.

Police called to the Elm Court flat found her body on a bed wrapped in a blood-stained duvet.

A Crown lawyer said she had severe bruising to her nose and eyes.

Stockman (54) denies a charge of murdering 51-year-old Ms Bardon last August. But he was refused bail after Northern Ireland's most senior judge ruled the risks were too great.

Opposing his application, Conor Maguire, prosecuting, said detectives were alerted after an ambulance crew discovered Ms Bardon found face down and dead on arrival.

Officers spoke to a warden who said Stockman had come to her office that afternoon and claimed the victim had earlier fallen off the toilet and injured her face.

The suspect said he was worried because she did not want to go to hospital and had stopped breathing.

Mr Maguire told the court: "During interview he gave varying accounts of what happened that morning and afternoon, but he denied involvement in her death, stating again that the injuries were sustained during falls on the 21st and 23rd August.

"He stated in relation to both that Ms Bardon did not wish to get medical attention but wished to sleep."

Defence counsel Richard McConkey insisted his client was unwavering in stating he did not inflict the injuries.

"One consistent theme throughout the entire process is Mr Stockman's unshakeable denials in respect of the allegations," he said.

Mr McConkey added that both the accused and his dead partner had suffered drink problems.

Denying bail, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan held that Stockman was unlikely to honour the release conditions he could impose.

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