Drug dealer and wife lured murder victim to his death, court told
A man charged alongside his wife with a murder in Belfast is allegedly a major drug dealer in the city, a court has heard.
Police claimed Charles and Julie Ann Valliday were partners in the plot to kill Christopher Mackin.
An investigating detective alleged that the victim was lured to his death by Mrs Valliday after being in telephone contact with her 50 times in preceding hours.
Mr Mackin (31) was shot up to four times at College Square North in the city last Thursday night.
Charles Valliday (40) and Julie Ann Valliday (35), of Powerscourt Place, Belfast, both deny murder.
They were refused bail because of fears of either fleeing or interfering with witnesses.
A judge also based her decision on the fact that the murder weapon has yet to be located.
Belfast Magistrates Court heard the case against the couple is centred on circumstantial evidence.
CCTV, telecommunications and cartridge discharge residue strands were identified.
A detective inspector said there was evidence of a Renault Clio being in the Divis Street area just minutes before the shooting.
He claimed Julie Ann Valliday could be seen driving it, although her passenger could not be identified.
Swab tests are also being carried out on a discharge residue sample found on a bedsheet in the suspects' home.
The detective said: “We hope to match that to the 15 empty cases found at the scene.”
During questioning by Charles Valliday's solicitor, he claimed there were approximately 50 contacts between Julie Ann Valliday and the victim in a three-and-a-half hour period before the shooting.
“The nature of these calls and contacts were to arrange a meeting between the co-accused (Mrs Valliday) and the deceased.
“We can see from the deceased's text messages that he had some concerns and suspected he may have been set up for something, but nevertheless (he) went on to have the meeting.”
The detective added that police believe: “Mrs Valliday has lured this man to the scene where he was murdered. Within an hour of that she was with her husband, which leads us to believe they both acted together in this enterprise.”
Lawyers for both accused attacked the strength of the case.
Opposing bail, a detective told the court Valliday has connections in the Irish Republic and access to substantial sums of cash which would enable him to flee.
He added: “I also have fears that there is an automatic weapon still to be recovered.”
Mrs Valliday's lawyer stressed there was no evidence connecting her to the murder scene.
Questioned about whether Mrs Valliday has ever previously been involved in crime with her husband, the officer said there was intelligence against the pair.
“I believe Mr Valliday is a major drug dealer in Belfast, and his wife is an equal partner in that.”
District Judge Fiona Bagnall refused bail for both due to police concerns. They were remanded in custody to appear again by video-link next month.