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Woman lured Pat McCormick to flat after claiming she had left fiancé for him, court told

William ‘Pat’ McCormick (PSNI/PA)
William ‘Pat’ McCormick (PSNI/PA)

By Alan Erwin

A woman allegedly lured a murder victim to her flat by claiming she had left her fiancé and co-accused for him, the High Court heard on Monday.

Prosecutors claimed Lesley-Ann Dodds, 21, was in a relationship with William 'Pat' McCormick and sent him messages to come to the property in Comber, Co Down where he was last seen alive on May 30.

The 55-year-old father-of-four's body was found in a lake in nearby Ballygowan more than a month later.

Post-mortem examinations revealed he had sustained multiple rib fractures, a judge was told.

Details emerged as Dodds, of Mountcollyer Avenue in Belfast, was granted bail.

She denies charges of aiding and abetting Mr McCormick's murder and perverting the course of justice.

Her co-accused, 26-year-old David Gill, from Ballyglighorn Road in Comber, is charged with carrying out the actual murder.

According to the prosecution Mr McCormick had been in a relationship with Dodds, describing her as his girlfriend, while she was also engaged to Gill.

On the day of his disappearance the victim was allegedly contacted by Dodds and asked to come to a flat she stayed at in Comber.

A Crown lawyer claimed a text message stated: "Please come and stay at mine, I have left him for you."

David Gill (in the cell in the back of the van) and Lesley Anne Dodds arrive at Newtownards Magistrates court for a previous court appearance. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
David Gill (in the cell in the back of the van) and Lesley Anne Dodds arrive at Newtownards Magistrates court for a previous court appearance. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Mr McCormick was said to have replied: "I think you're trying to set me up for a kicking."

However, as he approached the flat that night the victim phoned police to express his fear after seeing Gill's van parked nearby, the court heard.

CCTV footage also captured him walking up to the apartment.

"This was the last time Mr McCormick was seen alive," the lawyer contended.

Dodds was not present at the flat herself during that period, it was claimed.

But the prosecution said CCTV evidence showed Gill arriving and entering the property approximately an hour before Mr McCormick turned up.

The footage also allegedly depicted Gill leaving later that night, with evidence to suggest he returned again a number of times the next day.

"Police believe it's at this point that the injured party's body is removed from the flat and disposed of," the prosecutor submitted.

Asked what allegedly connects Dodds to the killing, counsel continued: "Police believe messages between the applicant and the injured party asking him to go to her flat, rather than her being present."

It was claimed that she was actually in Gill's home at the suspected time of the murder.

Mr McCormick's body was eventually recovered from the lake in Ballygowan on July 9.

Opposing Dodds' bid to be released from custody, the prosecution expressed fears she may attempt to flee.

Searches were made on her phone for cheap holidays in the days after the murder, the court was told.

Richard McConkey, defending, argued there is no evidence that Dodds was physically involved in either Mr McCormick's killing or the disposal of his body.

"The case at it's height is that she sent these messages to the deceased, the Crown case is that she lured him to the flat," he said.

Mr McConkey stressed that his client denies being in possession of her mobile at the time the texts were sent.

"Who's to say the person who murdered Mr McCormick isn't sending messages from her phone," he added.

Granting bail to Dodds, Mr Justice Maguire banned her from entering Comber, Newtownards and a number of surrounding areas.

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