Belfast Telegraph

Charges dropped against man accused of killing girlfriend Laura Marshall

Laura Marshall
Laura Marshall

By Paul Higgins

A man accused of killing his partner walked free from court on Friday after the prosecution withdrew all charges against him.

Gary O'Dowd (38), from Brookfield Avenue in Banbridge, had been accused of the murder of his dental nurse girlfriend Laura Marshall on a date unknown between 31 March and 3 April 2016.

He had also faced an accusation of threatening to kill Ms Marshall "intending that Laura Marshall would fear it would be carried out" and with assaulting her on 23 March.

He always denied the charges against him.

Previous courts have heard how the body of the popular dental nurse, described as "bubbly, fun loving and full of life" by her friends, was found by a maintenance man in a block of flats on Victoria Street in Lurgan on Sunday, April 3.

Police launched a murder investigation following a post mortem examination and Mr O'Dowd was arrested that evening, denying involvement in his partner's death throughout a week of police questioning.

Giving evidence to the court when Mr O'Dowd first appeared accused of the murder, a detective sergeant outlined how Miss Marshall was found in the bath with a deep cut to her wrist.

The wash hand basin had been wrenched from the wall and it was the subsequent leak which alerted the workman who made the discovery, said the detective, describing how the bathroom was a "violent scene" with a "significant amount of blood pool near the sink and some in the bath."

He also told the court that there was bruising all over her body and that the pathologist Professor Crane said there "may be indication of forced sex."

In court on Friday a prosecution lawyer said he was applying for all charges to be withdrawn, effectively ending the case.

A spokesperson for the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) said:  “I can confirm the PPS has decided to withdraw all charges against Gary O’Dowd without prejudice.

“This decision was taken for a number of reasons, including witness availability in the coming months.

“The Test for Prosecution on these charges remains met and the course of action taken today provides the PPS with the option to reinstate charges at a future point.

“The PPS has met with the family of the victim to explain the reasons behind this development and will continue to keep in close contact with them.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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