Belfast Telegraph

Alice Morrow murder probe delays 'obscene': judge

Found dead: Alice Morrow
Found dead: Alice Morrow

By Paul Higgins

A judge yesterday said he was concerned about "absolutely obscene delays" in a murder investigation.

With 42-year-old William Stephen Hutchinson appearing at Newtownards Magistrates' Court via videolink from prison, a prosecuting lawyer told the court there were four reports outstanding in the case.

Two of those, said the lawyer, related to forensic findings and the post-mortem report into the death of Alice Morrow, specifically in relation to toxicology examinations. He added that the reports were due in September and October.

Hutchinson, from Kilbroney House, Greenway in Belfast, is in custody accused of murdering Ms Morrow on March 10 this year. The body of the east Belfast grandmother was discovered in her flat at Whincroft Way on the Braniel estate.

The mother-of-three and grandmother-of-three was last seen on CCTV at 2.52am at Brackenvale Eurospar on the Saintfield Road.

Detectives believe she may have been murdered between noon and 8pm that day.

In court yesterday, the Public Prosecution Service lawyer said she was seeking a four-week adjournment but conceded she "doesn't know the reason" for the delay in getting the outstanding reports.

Commenting that "it's all very vague", Deputy District Judge Des Perry said he was concerned about the length of time the investigation was taking.

Remanding Hutchinson back into custody to appear again on August 23, he suggested to defence counsel Conor Holmes that a bail application could be mounted on that date.

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