Belfast Telegraph

Charlotte Murray did not disappear for seven years, she was murdered, court told

Johnny Miller
Johnny Miller

By Michael Donnelly

Co Tyrone woman Charlotte Murray not seen in nearly seven years did not want to simply disappear, she was murdered and murdered by her former fiancee chef Johnny Miller, it was claimed in court.

The claim came in final submissions by prosecution QC Richard Weir to the jury of eight men and four women at the Dungannon Crown Court trial of the 48-year-old chef.

Mr Miller with an address in Redford Park, Dungannon, who denies murdering her between October 31 and November 2, 2012, maintains that Charlotte got up and left their then Roxborough Heights home without even saying goodbye.

However, Mr Weir told the jury that there was "not one shred of evidence in anything that Charlotte said or done" to show she wanted to disappear without a trace, contacting no one.

And as he reviewed each 'strand' of the prosecution case Mr Weir said repeatedly that it proved "Charlotte is dead and he (Mr Miller) killed her",

Mr Weir claimed that Mr Miller's case was "riddled with inconsistencies, inaccuracies and down right lies", and that his "hopes" of Charlotte someday walking through the doors of the court would never come true because "he killed her".

"He knows fine rightly she is never going to walk through that door because he killed her".

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Charlotte Murray

Quoting from Mr Miller's diary in which he wrote .."someone knows something about her disappearance", Mr Weir pointing to the dock behind him said "there he is, he knows something, he knows what happened to Charlotte Murray, he knows how she died and where her body is".

Another diary entry said "you simply can't disappear," but you can, continued the lawyer "when you are killed and your body disposed of as has happened to Charlotte Murray in this case".

"He knows that you can just disappear, because he knows he killed her and concealed her body," declared the prosecutor.

He said telephone and computer data had exposed Mr Miller’s attempts to lay a trail that she was alive and leading a new life.

But the police had conducted an “assiduous, thorough, wide-ranging, comprehensive inquiry” that had established there was not a shred of evidence to suggest she was still alive.

This included tracing 41 other Charlotte Murray’s throughout the UK to establish they were not “the Charlotte Murray in this case”.

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Charlotte with John Patrick Miller

Mr Weir said such were the "tentacles of the inquiries, including Interpol, that the only hit by the international organisation turned up" was that of her twin sister Denise.

"We say there is no evidence in this case that Charlotte Murray was so dissatisfied with life and her circumstance that she simply wanted to vanish, to disappear from her life completely so that there was no Charlotte Murray anymore".

The lawyer said that even Mr Miller conceded Charlotte was not "malevolent towards him, that was not her form", so there was no way that if she were still alive, "we say she wouldn't leave him, as I suggested to him, swinging in the wind, no reason, nothing in her background, even though they were parting and she leaving".

With regards to the various alleged sightings of Charlotte, Mr Weir said why "having created her new identity, and having gone to all of this trouble, why go to her home village where she was known", and risk being spotted and her "cover blown" at the very height of searches for her.

Mr Weir concluded, in his submissions at the end of the four-week trial, as he begun, with the prosecution contention that Mr Miller is guilty of the "single count of murder".

On Friday defence QC Orlando Pownall will make their final submissions to the jury on their case.

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