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Ravenhill double murder trial dramatically aborted

By John Cassidy

Published 28/05/2015

The trial of a man accused of a "savage'' double murder in east Belfast has been dramatically aborted.

Mr Justice Weir told Belfast Crown Court that he had discharged the jury of seven men and five women as the trial of Ciaran Nugent was due to enter its second day.

Addressing both the prosecution and defence legal teams, the judge added: "I don't want go into those matters at this stage gentlemen.''

The judge added that a new jury would selected next Monday, June 1, to hear the trial. Nugent was remanded back into custody.

Nugent (32), formerly of the Simon Community on the Falls Road in west Belfast, has denied murdering Caron Smyth (40) and Finbar McGrillen (42) who were found dead in the living room of Mr McGrillen's flat in Ravenhill Court off the Ravenhill Road in east Belfast on Friday, December 13, 2013.

Earlier this week co-accused Shaun Hegarty (34), formerly of Grainne House in the New Lodge area of north Belfast, asked to be re-arraigned and admitted murdering his ex-girlfriend and Mr McGrillen.

The court had heard that Hegarty had been in relationship with Ms Smyth after they met in the summer of 2013.

They had lived together in Drumaness for around five months before they separated on December 8, just a few days before she was murdered.

Following his guilty plea to murder, Mr Justice Weir sentenced Hegarty to life in prison and will be told at a forthcoming tariff hearing how long he will have spend in prison before he is be eligible to apply for parole.

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