Grandmother cleared of charges linked to 2014 murder of Belfast man Edward Gibson
A grandmother of 20 has been cleared of firearms offences linked to the 2014 murder of Belfast man Edward Gibson - almost a year after her husband was acquitted of carrying out the fatal shooting.
Margaret Goodman, of Ballymurphy Parade, walked free from Belfast Crown Court after a prosecuting barrister offered no evidence and confirmed there was "no reasonable prospect of a conviction".
For the first time it can now be reported that her husband Malachy Goodman, who was due to stand trial for the October 2014 murder of Mr Gibson, was also acquitted at the same court last May after a jury was directed to return not guilty verdicts.
Mr Gibson was shot in the thigh and stomach in an alleyway in the Divis area of west Belfast on October 24, 2014. The 28-year-old father-of-one was rushed to hospital but died from his injuries the following day.
In the aftermath of the shooting both Malachy and Margaret Goodman were arrested and charged with offences arising from the killing.
Malachy Goodman (61), from Rockmore Road, was charged with murdering Mr Gibson and of possessing a firearm and ammunition with intent.
He always maintained his innocence and was due to stand trial.
However, due to identification issues, the case did not proceed and a jury was directed to clear him.
Almost a year later his 59-year-old wife was also cleared of charges she faced after no evidence was offered by the Crown.
Belfast Crown Court was told Mrs Goodman faced three charges - possessing a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life, possessing a 9x19mm calibre cartridge with intent, and possessing a 9x19mm calibre cartridge in suspicious circumstances.
The mother-of-seven and grandmother of 20 also denied the charges and was due to face trial.
After a jury was sworn in at Belfast Crown Court, prosecuting QC David McDowell told them: "On the evidence available, we have come to the conclusion there is no reasonable prospect of a conviction, and we offer no evidence in respect of all three counts."
Judge Geoffrey Miller told the court that in such circumstances defendants were "entitled to have their names cleared by the jury", and directed the foreman to return not guilty'verdicts against Mrs Goodman.
Judge Miller then told Mrs Goodman she was free to leave the court.