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Two women in court over murder of Daniel Guyler in Derry

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Daniel Guyler died in hospital in May of 2019

Daniel Guyler died in hospital in May of 2019

Daniel Guyler died in hospital in May of 2019

Two women have appeared in court accused of murdering a pensioner in Londonderry.

In July 2018, Daniel Guyler (75) was assaulted at Termon Street in the city's Waterside area. His attackers stole his wallet, containing £400, and left him on the ground with serious head injuries.

Mr Guyler never regained consciousness and he died in hospital in May 2019.

Earlier this week - two years after the attack - detectives from the PSNI's Major Investigation Team launched a murder inquiry. They arrested two women - Sharon Harland (44) from Bridge Street in Derry and Rhona Gracey (33) and from Belfast.

They appeared via videolink at Bishop Street Courthouse where Judge Ted Magill said the women were denying charges of murder and robbery.

The court was told the women had considerable criminal records, and both had been trying to address issues of alcohol and drug abuse. A defence barrister said Sharon Harland was a mother of five who was now pregnant with her sixth child.

The judge heard that Harland and Gracey were arrested in July 2018, shortly after the attack on Mr Guyler, and the pair appeared at Londonderry Magistrate's Court, sitting in Omagh, accused of assault. Prosecutors, however, dropped the charges and decided to proceed by way of reports.

Now the women face a murder charge.

A detective told the court that forensic evidence in the case was "quite strong". She said the victim's blood had been found on Harland and Gracey's clothing and shoes. The detective also objected to bail, saying she believed the defendants could interfere with witnesses. She said there was "bad blood" between the women and people who have given statements to the police.

A defence lawyer said there were a number of outstanding issues to be addressed, including the cause of death. He said post-mortem reports indicated Mr Guyler died from bronchial pneumonia.

Judge Magill said both defendants had already been at large for considerable period of time since the attack on Mr Guyler and neither had intimidated any witnesses. He said he was prepared to release Harland and Gracey on bail, but the two women remain in custody after prosecutors said they intended to appeal the judge's decision.

The defendants are due to appear again in court on August 20th.

Belfast Telegraph