Woman and two men to stand trial over murder of man in Bangor
Two men and a woman are to stand trial next year charged in connection with the murder of a man in Bangor, Co Down.
Paul Stephen Bustard (41), of Bush Park, Antrim, denied murdering Stephen Liam Davidson at his Ballyholme Road home on February 10, 2013.
He entered his not guilty plea yesterday at an arraignment hearing at Downpatrick Crown Court, sitting in Belfast.
Mr Davidson was found lifeless in his living room, and police said at the time he had died after a "violent struggle".
Also in the dock was Meabh Breanda Mairead Farrell (32), whose address was given as care of Women's Aid, Deerpark Road, north Belfast. She pleaded not guilty to two counts of assisting offenders and one of perverting the course of justice.
It is alleged she caused "injuries to her body to assist Paul Stephen Bustard in alleging that he was acting in self-defence in the murder of Stephen Davidson".
She is also accused of assisting offenders by "removing and concealing evidence from the scene, namely clothing and a mobile phone belonging to the deceased".
And she is further accused of acting to "impede the apprehension or prosecution of Stephen Bustard, namely by assisting him to find accommodation in order to evade detection by the police".
James Owen Gawn (51), of High Street, Bangor, pleaded not guilty to withholding information about Bustard's alleged involvement in the murder.
He also denied a charge of assisting offenders by "providing Bustard with accommodation with intent to impede his apprehension or prosecution''.
Bustard's mother Olywn (63), of Rugby Avenue, Bangor, did not enter any pleas at the arraignment hearing.
She is accused of withholding information and assisting offenders, "namely sending Stephen Bustard a text message advising him to switch off his phone to impede his apprehension or prosecution".
Her defence barrister asked for her arraignment hearing not go ahead yesterday because there was an issue surrounding her "fitness to plead".
He said that as a result of "significant issues" concerning her health, a psychiatrist had requested further information by way of an MRI scan.
He added the results of the scan would be examined by a neurological consultant.
Mr Justice Weir said the trial, which is expected to last up to three weeks, had been listed for hearing on February 16 next year at Ards Crown Court.
The judge remanded Stephen Bustard and Meabh Farrell back into custody and released James Gawn and Olywn Bustard on continuing bail.