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Court told more suspects linked to Co Down murder as accused is refused bail

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Victim: Pat McCormick’s body was dumped in a Co Down lake

Victim: Pat McCormick’s body was dumped in a Co Down lake

Victim: Pat McCormick’s body was dumped in a Co Down lake

Further suspects have been identified in connection with the murder of a father of four whose body was dumped in a Co Down lake, a court heard yesterday.

Police revealed a list of names has gone to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) as part of the investigation into the killing of William 'Pat' McCormick.

Details emerged as a man charged with murdering the 55-year-old on May 30 last year was refused bail.

David Gill (27), of Ballyglighorn Road in Comber, is facing prosecution along with his fiancee and co-accused, Lesley-Ann Dodds.

Mr McCormick was also allegedly in a relationship with 22-year-old Dodds at the time of his death.

According to police, the victim had been lured to her flat in Comber by a phone call on the night he was killed.

Newtownards Magistrates' Court, sitting in Belfast, heard he went there despite expressing concerns he would be attacked by her ex-partner.

Detective Sergeant Alan Whyte said CCTV footage showed Mr McCormick approached the flats, adding: "He was never seen alive again."

It was claimed that Gill was also seen visiting the property that night and again the following morning.

"This is when we believe the body was removed from the flat, disposed of and put in the lake at Ballygowan," the detective said.

Mr McCormick's remains were recovered more than a month later on July 9. Despite decomposition, post-mortem examinations established he had sustained multiple rib fractures.

Dodds, with an address at Mountcollyer Avenue in Belfast, is on bail facing charges of aiding and abetting murder and perverting the course of justice.

Opposing Gill's bid to be released, DS Whyte claimed he may obstruct attempts to locate further forensic evidence.

The detective then disclosed: "There's a list of other people who have been reported [to the PPS] for murder and other offences, who could assist him in destroying this if [he were] granted bail."

Further concerns were raised about potential interference with witnesses in the case, including one who has been granted anonymity.

Defence counsel Michael McAleer stressed Gill denies any involvement in the murder.

"It's speculation that this man, if released, may locate and destroy evidence," he said.

Citing further delays in the case due to the Covid-19 crisis, the barrister claimed his client could spend up to two years in custody awaiting trial.

Denying bail, however, District Judge Mark Hamill said: "I'm concerned about the prospect of interference with an ongoing investigation."

Belfast Telegraph