Belfast Telegraph

Murder hoax man Petras Poderis who sparked police search is facing prison

By Staff Reporter

A judge has warned he is considering jailing a man who told police he had murdered a woman after leaving her to drown in a lough, prompting a massive search.

Police said the operation involving specialist divers, a helicopter and trained dogs cost in excess of £10,000.

It was only after being arrested and charged with murder that the defendant said it had all been "a big joke". He was subsequently charged with wasting police time.

Petras Poderis of Braeside, Dungannon, contacted police via the 999 number on August 9 last year. He claimed to have killed the woman and her body was in his home.

He then claimed the victim's body was in nearby Ballysaggart Lough - known locally as the Black Lough - and she had drowned.

Police arrested Poderis on suspicion of murder after he claimed he had gone to a shop around an hour beforehand and met the woman.

He claimed the pair walked to the lough where he asked her for sex. He said she refused and he pushed her into the water. He said: "I could see she couldn't swim and I ran off."

A vast search was launched, but later Poderis stated: "This is all a big joke."

He added: "I did it for badness to get at my partner. It was a fantasy."

Police remained concerned and continued the search as a precaution.

It was not stood down until 24 hours later, after they were satisfied there was no evidence of a murder.

Meanwhile, police spoke with Poderis' partner and told her of his claim of murder, to which she laughed.

She said she had been with the defendant throughout the previous day and was present when he rang police to report the 'murder'.

Prior to that, the pair argued and Poderis "intimidated he would rather go to prison than live with her".

Police sought a statement from the woman, but she declined and wanted no further part in the matter.

Following the extraordinary set of facts, District Judge John Meehan said: "I am considering custody for this quite outrageous behaviour."

Pre-sentence reports are to be prepared and Poderis is to return to court next month.

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