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Woman denies killing pensioner neighbour

A Newry woman has denied battering her 81-year-old neighbour to death at Christmas two years ago.

In the dock at Newry Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, Karen Walsh (44) pleaded not guilty to murdering Maire Rankin on a date between December 23 and 26, 2008.

The body of Mrs Rankin was discovered by her family in her Dublin Road home in Newry on Christmas Day.

Walsh's defence QC John McCrudden told Mr Justice Hart that before any trial he would be seeking expert reports on DNA, mobile phones, toxicology and from a pathologist.

Describing the circumstances as “unpleasant to say the least”, the lawyer said that as the murder evokes “very, very strong feelings” in Newry, it may be moved from south Down.

Mr Justice Hart said he would review the case in September and set a provisional date for the trial in November.

Walsh, from Dublin Road in Newry, was released on continuing bail with a warning from the judge that if she breached any of the conditions of her bail “you run the risk of being returned to custody until the trial”.

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