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Blood of murdered Derry pensioner found on clothes of accused, court told

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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

Blood from a Derry pensioner was found on clothes and shoes worn by two women charged with his murder, the High Court was told on Friday.

Prosecutors claimed Sharon Harland, 44, and Rhona Gracey, 33, can be forensically linked to the death of Daniel Guyler as they appealed a decision to grant bail to both accused.

Mr Guyler, 75, was found with serious injuries in the Termon Street area of the city on July 23, 2018.

He never regained consciousness, dying in hospital nearly 10 months later on May 1, 2019.

Harland, of Baltimore House in Derry, and Gracey, from Coven Street in Belfast, were arrested earlier this week and jointly charged with his murder.

They are also accused of robbing Mr Guyler of £400.

The Public Prosecution Service mounted an appeal after a magistrate decided on Thursday that both women could be released from custody.

Crown lawyer Suzanne Gallagher set out how the emergency services found the pensioner with a head injury.

A doctor who examined him concluded that he had either fallen repeatedly from a height or been attacked.

Although no-one saw Mr Guyler being assaulted or robbed of his wallet and cash, the court heard witnesses alleged the two defendants were with him shortly before the incident.

At the time both women lived in hostel accommodation and drank in the area of the alleged attack, according to the prosecution.

It was also claimed that Harland was later seen disposing of an empty wallet.

Both women had been detained at the time, but initial assault charges were not pursued.

However, Ms Gallagher contended that forensic evidence now links them to Mr Guyler.

Examination of Gracey's clothing was said to have revealed blood from the pensioner.

"The location of this blood suggests she was in close proximity to the victim when this fresh blood was projected," counsel submitted.

"The deceased's blood was also found on the soles of shoes Harland was wearing at the time."

During police interviews the defendants either made no comment or said they could not remember the incident.

Lord Justice McCloskey heard Harland is currently pregnant with her sixth child.

Her barrister, Sean Doherty, said she had "existed on the fringe of society for many years", but was now seeking to overcome alcohol and substance misuse.

He also expressed bewilderment at the police action against both women.

"We still have no explanation why this decision has been taken, two years after the incident, to charge these ladies with the offence (of murder)," Mr Doherty insisted.

Adjourning the hearing, the judge requested more information from both sides before ruling on the appeal.

Belfast Telegraph