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Key witness in Norman Moffatt murder trial admits drug addiction

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Martha Brown, main Prosecution witness in the Norman Moffatt murder trial arrives at Antrim Crown Court today on day six.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Martha Brown, main Prosecution witness in the Norman Moffatt murder trial arrives at Antrim Crown Court today on day six.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

James Alexander McCook is led away in handcuffs from Ballymena Magistrates Court, after he accused of stabbing Norman Moffatt, 73, as the pensioner walked home after buying his morning newspaper in Coleraine, Co Londonderry, in January 2001. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday April 12, 2012. See PA story ULSTER Moffatt. Photo credit should read: Paul Faith/PA Wire

James Alexander McCook is led away in handcuffs from Ballymena Magistrates Court, after he accused of stabbing Norman Moffatt, 73, as the pensioner walked home after buying his morning newspaper in Coleraine, Co Londonderry, in January 2001. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday April 12, 2012. See PA story ULSTER Moffatt. Photo credit should read: Paul Faith/PA Wire

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Murdered: Norman Moffatt (73)

Murdered: Norman Moffatt (73)

Norma Moffatt, daughter of the late murdered Norman Moffatt at Antrim Crown Court today.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Norma Moffatt, daughter of the late murdered Norman Moffatt at Antrim Crown Court today.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

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Martha Brown, main Prosecution witness in the Norman Moffatt murder trial arrives at Antrim Crown Court today on day six.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

A witness in the murder trial of pensioner Norman Moffatt has admitted she was addicted to prescription drugs during the time she claimed the defendant made a confession.

Martha Brown — a key witness for the prosecution — told Antrim Crown Court that James Alexander McCook had said during a party in 2006 that he had stabbed the pensioner.

Mr McCook (43) denies murdering the 73-year-old pensioner in 2001.

During her second day in the witness box under cross-examination by Arthur Harvey QC, counsel for the defence, Ms Brown admitted that she was addicted to taking a number of prescription drugs, including diazepam.

However, when Mr Harvey put it to her that she was an alcoholic she denied it.

Mr Harvey said: “I suggest you told one of your doctors you would down a bottle of cider or a bottle of wine before you go out and told a doctor you would drink to such an extent you have no recollection of what you had done.”

Ms Brown said she would take a “social drink” and would have shared a bottle of white wine before going out with “five or six people”.

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Medical records also revealed doctors believed she had “considerable psychological problems combined with drug dependency”.

The jury also heard evidence that it was known she had suffered hallucinations before 2006.

Ms Brown said she had “nothing to hide” and had been addicted to diazepam since she was 18 years old, and was also addicted to temazepam.

Mr Harvey also put it to her that she was warned by doctors not to drink alcohol while taking the drugs as it would “lead to confusion, it will lead to anxiety and aggression”.

“The doctors didn’t tell me it led to aggression,” she said.

Referring to medical notes, Mr Harvey also said she had expressed to a doctor her concern police did not think of her as a “credible” witness.

Throughout her evidence Ms Brown insisted she was “not lying” and that Mr McCook had confessed to stabbing Mr Moffatt.

Ms Brown agreed that she could “fly off the handle”, but added “it's not due to the medication”.

On Tuesday Ms Brown told the court Mr McCook had made the confession in January 2006 at her cousin's house after a night out in which she had bumped into him at a pub.

After the stabbing, Mr Moffatt was taken to Causeway Hospital in Coleraine for emergency surgery but remained critically ill. A few weeks later he was transferred to the Ulster Hospital where he died.

Mr McCook was arrested in Stockport last year. The case continues.


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