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Laura Marshall: Gary O'Dowd in court charged with Lurgan murder

Published 08/04/2016

Murdered: 31-year-old Laura Marshall was found by a maintenance man in a block of flats on Victoria Street in Lurgan
Murdered: 31-year-old Laura Marshall was found by a maintenance man in a block of flats on Victoria Street in Lurgan

A man was remanded into custody on Friday charged with girlfriend Laura Marshall's murder.

Standing in the dock at Craigavon Magistrates Court, 36-year-old Gary O'Dowd confirmed that he understood the single charge against him.

O'Dowd, from the Knocknagore Road in Gilford is accused of killing the 31-year-old on a date unknown between 30 March and 4 April this year.

The body of the dental nurse, described as "bubbly, fun loving and full of life" by her friends, was found by a maintenance man in a block of flats on Victoria Street in Lurgan on Sunday night.

Police launched a murder investigation following a post mortem examination and O'Dowd was arrested on Sunday and has been in police custody all week following multiple extensions to his detention.

Giving evidence to the court a detective sergeant said he believed he could connect O'Dowd to the murder and outlined how Miss Marshall was found in the bath with a deep cut to her wrist.

The wash hand basin had been wrenched from the wall and it was the subsequent leak which alerted the workman and the macabre discovery made, said the detective adding that there had been repeated allegations of domestic abuse made against O'Dowd but that each time, his girlfriend retracted her statement.

The last incident occurred on March 23 when Ms Marshall had phoned 999 claiming she had been head-butted by O’Dowd and  choked by him until she almost passed out.

He allegedly told her “I will kill you. I will ruin you. I will stab you in the temple.” Within days, Ms Marshall was dead.

He revealed that on the day of her  death, she had exchanged more than 40 texts with Gary O’Dowd.

One said "I miss you. I keep falling out of your side of the bed. I'll love you forever.". “She clearly wanted him back,” said the police officer.

"This was a typical, sad, depressing domestic violence cycle.” Applying for bail, defence lawyer Gavin Cairns argued that his client had alibis for the days leading up to Ms Marshall’s death, that there was no forensic evidence to connect him to the crime, that the CCTV at the flats complex showed no sign of  him coming or going at any time and that there was no eyewitness.

The police officer confirmed that Gary O’Dowd had consistently denied any involvement in her death over the course of 25 interviews.

Bail was refused however and O'Dowd was remanded to appear again next month.

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