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Homeless woman accused of pensioner murder 'vulnerable lady'

Published 22/01/2016

Forensic officers at the scene in Station Road where Eddie Girvan was found murdered
Forensic officers at the scene in Station Road where Eddie Girvan was found murdered

A homeless woman charged with murdering a pensioner found tied up and stabbed in his home is a "vulnerable lady", a court was told.

Margaret Henderson, 29, with an address at the Ormeau Centre hostel on Verner Street, Belfast, was charged with murdering Eddie Girvan, 67, on January 18.

Retired plumber Mr Girvan was discovered by chance on Monday night when two police officers making routine enquiries called at his house in Greenisland, Co Antrim.

Ms Henderson was arrested in Belfast shortly after the discovery.

Appearing before Belfast Magistrates Court, she was asked if she understood the charge against her.

She replied: "Aye".

A detective inspector said he believed he could connect Ms Henderson to the killing.

Mark Farrell, barrister for the accused, said he had concerns about her as she was a "vulnerable lady and fragile" and "susceptible to others".

Ms Henderson has "complex medical needs" and required professional medical treatment while in custody, he told the judge.

There was no application for bail.

Ms Henderson appeared in court, dressed in a white top, during the brief hearing.

A small number of people in the public gallery who called out in support of her were ordered to be silent.

The accused was remanded in custody until a further hearing in four weeks time.

Mr Girvan, a separated father of two who lived at his semi-detached home on Station Road, was an antiques enthusiast.

One of the victim's two cars - a silver Hyundai Sonata - was removed and later recovered by police around 10 miles away on Verner Street in Belfast city centre.

Police said the vehicle was seen leaving Greenisland just before 7.30am on Monday being "driven dangerously".

It is understood to have later been involved in a minor crash in Belfast city centre.

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From Belfast Telegraph