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Man accused of murdering his girlfriend in brief court appearance

By Paul Higgins

Published 07/05/2016

Charges: Gary O’Dowd
Charges: Gary O’Dowd

A man recently freed on bail accused of his girlfriend's murder has appeared in court before being released on continuing bail.

Gary O'Dowd (36) stood in the dock at Craigavon Magistrates Court for the brief mention of the case against him.

O'Dowd, from Knocknagore Road in Gilford, is charged with making a threat to kill his girlfriend "intending that Laura Marshall would fear it would be carried out", with assaulting her on March 23 this year, and with her murder on a date unknown between March 30 and April 4.

Previous courts have heard how the body of the popular 31-year-old dental nurse was found by a maintenance man at a block of flats in Victoria Street, Lurgan, on Sunday, April 3.

Police launched a murder investigation following a post-mortem examination and O'Dowd was arrested that evening, denying involvement in his partner's death throughout a week of police questioning.

Giving evidence to the court when O'Dowd first appeared accused of the murder three weeks ago, a detective sergeant outlined how Ms Marshall was found in the bath with a deep cut to her wrist.

The hand basin had been wrenched from the wall and it was the subsequent leak that alerted the workman who made the macabre discovery, the detective said, describing how the bathroom was a "violent scene" with a "significant amount of blood pool near the sink and some in the bath".

During a bail application at the High Court, the prosecution claimed Ms Marshall's death had been caused by drowning, but defence counsel Gavyn Cairns told the court another pathologist concluded that Ms Marshall did not drown. He said: "We say the deceased was found in a bath with the hot tap running. She has a very serious, 9cm wound to her forearm. Looking at that, there's every prospect that there was no crime here at all."

O'Dowd was ordered to return to court on June 17.

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