Belfast Telegraph

Charlotte Murray's ex fiance Johnny Miller denies searching online for materials to dispose of body

Johnny Miller is accused of the murder of his former fiancee Charlotte Murray (pictured)
Johnny Miller is accused of the murder of his former fiancee Charlotte Murray (pictured)

By Michael Donnelly

The Co Tyrone chef accused of murdering his former fiancee has denied he was looking to buy axes and saw blades to dispose of her body.

Johnny Miller denies murdering his girlfriend of two years, Charlotte Murray, between October 30 and November 2, 2012 when she allegedly disappeared from the Roxborough Heights home they shared in the Tyrone village of Moy.

His defence QC Orlando Pownall ended his questioning of the 48-year-old chef by going right back to the start of his examination before the Dungannon Crown Court jury of eight men and four women.

Mr Pownall put it to Mr Miller: "I'll end as I started, I ask again....were you in anyway responsible for causing the death of Charlotte Murray?"

"No....definitely not...no way.... no chance," said Mr Miller, now with an address in Redford Park, in Dungannon.

Later in a cross-examination by prosecution QC Richard Weir, he claimed that after an argument he had told Charlotte: "I said something like, this isn't working, one of us will have to leave the house".

"The whole thing was going down, down and down hill...the last straw," Mr Miller also told the court.

However, as his questioning continued, taking him through the months, weeks and days before Charlotte allegedly went missing, Mr Weir accused him of "making up dates and lying to the jury".

"I didn't mean to lie..I got mixed up," said Mr Miller, who when questioned about his relationship with Charlotte and whether he was "inclined to say what suits" his case, he replied: "I don't think so".

Earlier in his direct evidence, his lawyer, Mr Pownall, put the various aspects of the prosecution case, and the suggestions that may be outlined to Mr Miller.

Johnny Miller
Johnny Miller

They included his online activity to find a new girl, to pawn Charlotte's engagement ring, to searches for a double-headed axe, saw blades and cleaning materials, to allegedly keeping her phone to make bogus calls and texts following her disappearence.

Mr Pownall initially put it to Mr Miller that "the suggestion may be made" he sent text messages from her phone knowing she was "either dead or severely injured...is there any truth in that suggestion".

"No, not at all...no way," came the reply.

At another stage the defence lawyer asked him directly: "Did you have her phone, having killed her?"

"No," he said.

Mr Miller went on to admit that in the days Ms Murray disappeared he went on a computer dating site, but denied there was "anything sinister in that", despite the prosecution case that he went online, "having killed, murdered your girlfriend of two years".

He also accepted that about three weeks after having last seen Charlotte he was on the B&Q website looking up double-headed axes, saw blades and cleaning materials. Mr Miller claimed his father had been looking for a blade for a bow saw.

Again Mr Pownall said that this may be put forward by the prosecution in suggesting that, "may be you were looking to get equipment to assist you to dispose of Charlotte Murray's body".

And when asked if there was "any truth in that at all", Mr Miller rejected the suggestion, "no, not at all...absolutely not....that's rubbish", although he accepted he was no longer "in love with her", nor was he "worried about her" at that time.

Later Mr Miller claimed he was "devastated" when he was forced to leave his home while police forensically searched it.

"I was devastated, I lost everything, I lost my house, my phones, my computer, everything, I nearly lost my job," he said, adding later that he had noted in a diary his feeling of the time and in the passing months and Charlotte's continued disappearance.

In one entry he talked of "crying his eyes out" with his mother on Charlotte's birthday, "Where's Charlotte, she can't just disappear, while in an earlier post he wrote: "I wish she would show up and sort all this".

He told the court that these notes were "all genuine" and never once did he "imagine when writing this that it would be read out in court, you charged with murder, by your barrister".

The case continues on Monday when Mr Miller will again be cross-examined by the prosecution.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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