Lurgan kidnap victim Kevin Conway was bound and shot, court hears
A farmer has recalled the moment he discovered a body lying in a derelict house on his land in Aghalee.
The farmer told Belfast Crown Court he found the man's remains lying face-down in the empty property in February 1998.
The witness was giving evidence at the trial of 48-year old Gary Martin Marshall, from The Beeches in Portadown. The defendant is charged with aiding and abetting the kidnapping of Lurgan man Kevin Conway.
Mr Conway was taken from his home on the Kilwilkie estate on the afternoon of February 17th, 1998. His remains were discovered by a farmer in the derelict house the following day. His hands had been tied behind his back and he was shot in the back of the head.
The farmer told the Diplock non-jury trial that he and his brother had been spreading fertiliser on his land at Rock Lane when he noticed the door of a derelict building on his property was ajar. He revealed that the door had been nailed shut the previous October due to issues with young people drinking in the empty property.
He told Judge Geoffrey Miller QC that after noticing the door was ajar, he approached the building and pushed the door open.
He said: "I pushed the door open and stepped in and saw the body, and I just immediately turned and came back out again."
When asked by Crown prosecutor Terence Mooney QC to describe what he saw, the farmer said he saw a body "lying flat on the deck." And asked whether he believed this person to be alive or dead, the witness replied: "I assumed he was dead."
He also said he noticed the deceased was wearing a red shirt or jumper and what appeared to be slippers on his feet.
Following the discovery, the farmer said: "I came out and got on the tractor, went down to the phone box and phoned the police."
He said that police arrived within minutes of him making the 999 call. He also said that after finding the body, he "couldn't face" ever going into the empty property again.
The trial has already heard that Mr Conway was taken from his Deeney Drive home on the afternoon of February 17, 1998 while his wife was collecting two of their children from school. She came home to find their three-month old daughter on her own and her husband missing.
Marshall, who at the time of the abduction and subsequent murder of Mr Conway was living on the same estate, denied aiding and abetting the kidnapping. He has been charged with supplying the car which was used to transport Mr Conway from his home to the murder scene at Aghalee - a charge he denies.
Belfast Telegraph Digital