Belfast Telegraph

Jury hears extracts of Charlotte Murray murder accused's police interviews

Missing: Charlotte Murray
Missing: Charlotte Murray

By Michael Donnelly

A jury in the trial of a Co Tyrone man accused of murdering his fiance has heard extracts from over 800 pages of interviews he had with police since she disappeared in 2012.

Johnny Miller (48) denies killing Charlotte Murray nearly seven years ago.

In the main during interviews, and on the advice of his solicitor, Miller replied 'no comment' to the bulk of their questions, put to him in 2015 and 2017, even when he was directly "challenged" as to whether he had "murdered her".

While a detective agreed this was his right, she added that as an experienced officer, with 12 years' involvement in investigating murders, she would have expected Mr Miller "to clear up some inconsistencies", if he was right in saying Charlotte had disappeared, "to help us find the missing person".

The officer also agreed with defence counsel Desmond Hutton, that on occasions Mr Miller was "emotional and visibly upset" and that there was "nothing shocking or unusual" in his solicitor advising him not to answer questions put to him.

However, while she accepted it was a person's legal right to have a solicitor present during interviews, she added that it was also open to a suspect whether to "follow that advice or to answer questions". The jury of six men and six women were told that Miller, originally from Coleraine, but now with an address in Redford Park in Dungannon, having been initially questioned as a witness in Charlotte's disappearance around Halloween 2012, was interviewed in February 2015 as a suspect and then again following his arrest in October 2017.

They and trial Judge Stephen Fowler QC heard that, at the end of each set of interviews, detectives "asked if he had killed her ... and that was a 'No Comment'", or that they "put a challenge to him as to whether he had murdered her ... that again was a 'No comment'".

In 2015 detectives also asked Mr Miller, "OK Johnny if you didn't kill Charlotte have you any idea where her body might be?".

He replied "no".

Miller was then asked: "Are there any places where she might have committed suicide," to which he replied: "No comment".

The court also heard that when asked about blood being found by forensics in the Roxborough Heights home the couple shared in The Moy, Co Tyrone, he again replied: "No comment".

The same reply was made concerning questions about the whereabouts of Charlotte's mobile phone.

On one occasion, when asked about calls he made to a landline at the Cohannon Inn, where they had both worked, Mr Miller said he could not remember them.

"I just can't think of them at all. I can't remember what I did last week, not least two years ago," he said to police.

However, when it was put to him that cell site analysis suggested that messages from Charlotte's phone to his placed the two mobiles in the same location, Mr Miller replied: "No comment".

Officers then put it to him this was important, "because this is the last contact between you and Charlotte, and that is it. There is no more contact.

"Do you remember why that would have been?"

"No," he said.

Then when asked if he had "seen her after November 12,", Mr Miller replied: "No comment".

The case continues on Monday.

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