Belfast Telegraph

A right piece of work!

Stephen Breen

THIS is the notorious Ulster strangler who is suing the Citizens Advice Bureau - for over £30,000.

THIS is the notorious Ulster strangler who is suing the Citizens Advice Bureau - for over £30,000.

Love-cheat killer John Murdock - the ex-senior Northern Bank official who throttled his mistress, set her body alight and coolly went to work the next day - wants £32,926 compensation from the CAB in Ards, following his dismissal as a money advice worker last year.

In an extraordinary hearing at the Industrial Tribunals Office last Tuesday - during which the killer spoke about the day he strangled his ex-girlfriend - Murdock outlined his reasons for taking legal action against the organisation.

He told the tribunal: "On October 6, 1993, my life changed. I got involved in a row with my ex-girlfriend and lost my self-control. When I regained my control I realised she lost her life.

"After my release, I was given permission by my probation officer to apply for a job with Ards CAB. I was offered the job last year and as far as I was concerned, a legally binding contract was formed.

"But I was told my contract was to be terminated because of non-disclosure of my time in prison. There were no requests for disclosure on the form, but if they had asked me I would have willingly told them.

"I don't think they followed dismissal procedures or honoured my contract."

The tribunal heard how Murdock - currently working as a CAB volunteer in central Belfast and the Shankill Road - landed a paid job with the Newtownards branch last year.

But he was only in the post for three weeks before being dismissed in April.

The killer, who represented himself at the hearing, wants compensation because the position he was offered - which was funded by the National Lottery - was for a two-year period. But CAB barrister Conor Hamil dismissed the convicted murderer's claim as "ludicrous".

He said Murdock would have been unable to fulfil the job description, which included giving advice to schools, community groups, youth groups, individual CAB clients and home visits.

Added Mr Hamil: "He said he was studying during the gaps in his employment. He didn't say he was doing this in prison, and this is a fundamental, fraudulent misrepresentation.

"Mr Murdock was completely incapable of fulfilling the role. If he did the job he would be in breach of the terms of his probation. The state would have to have known about him going to schools.

"As far as Ards were concerned, he was just an ordinary person. He didn't tell them about the life-changing experience, as he describes it. He says he was high-profile. I think the word notorious is more suited.

"When he realised he would have to give talks to schools, advice on a one-to-one basis and work with the Northern Bank, he sought some 'reasonable adjustments'. But there is no legal requirements to make adjustments for murderers out on licence.

"There was simply a lawful termination here. In reality, he could never be able to do that job. He wanted to get the job and then make a claim. He intentionally misled the CAB."

Murdock, who has a string of degrees from his time in prison, was given a life sentence in 1994 for the murder of his former lover, bank colleague Norma Murdock (no relation).

The court was told that after strangling her, Murdock set her body alight in a bid to destroy forensic evidence.

The hearing will be concluded next month.

Belfast Telegraph


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