Belfast Telegraph

Daughter of accused NI serial killer adds complaint of abuse

By Allan Preston

The daughter of a Northern Ireland man accused of being a serial killer has spoken out to say he abused her as a child, and she firmly believes he was capable of murder.

Leslie Ross died earlier this month, aged 70, after suffering from cancer. He was previously accused of murdering three of his ex-girlfriends before the cases collapsed.

Before he took ill he was also facing trial in Newry for 44 counts of sexual abuse.

Earlier this week his niece Debbie Ross (54) told the BBC that she was sexually abused by her "absolute monster" of an uncle as a teenager.

Now, his daughter Julie Ross has joined her in speaking out. Both women have waived their right to anonymity to condemn the late Co Down Stonemason.

In an interview with the BBC, Julie Ross detailed how she fled Ireland at the age of 14 after her father threatened her with a knife, and how she summoned the courage to face him in court.

"I feel that by facing him a number of times in the courtroom, he died knowing that I was no longer affected by or frightened of him," she said.

Ms Ross said she was certain her father would have been convicted, and gained closure from her father's death knowing "he cannot harm anyone ever again".

She added: "I truly believe that if it was not for his illness then the PPS (Public Prosecution Service) would have successfully prosecuted him for these offences against me and the other victims involved in the trial."

Ross had been charged with the murders of Michelle Bickerstaff, Margaret Weiss and Lily McKee.

In 2016 a jury was directed to acquit Ross of Ms Bickerstaff's murder when the prosecution offered no further evidence.

Two months later he went on trial for the 2007 murder of Ms Weiss (50), but was acquitted after the jury was directed to find him not guilty. Ross was also charged with the murder of Ms McKee, a third ex-girlfriend, but that case never went to full trial.

Belfast Telegraph

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