Belfast Telegraph

Man accused of killing teacher Robert Flowerday to stand trial for murder

Michael Owens. Credit: Pacemaker Belfast
Michael Owens. Credit: Pacemaker Belfast

By Paul Higgins

A man accused of the horrific and bloody killing of a retired teacher was ordered to stand trial for murder on Tuesday.

By way of a preliminary investigation, lawyers for 34-year-old Michael Owens had contested that he had a case to answer but having heard evidence from a number of witnesses at Antrim Magistrates Court, District Judge Nigel Broderick ruled there was a Prima Facile case against the alleged killer.

With Owens appearing in the dock rather than by video link, a brother and supporters of his alleged victim Robert Flowerday sat in dignified silence just a few feet away in the public gallery to hear the judge's ruling which commits the alleged killer to the senior Crown Court.

Owens, from the Lisburn Road in Glenavy, is in custody charged with the murder of popular former Antrim Grammar School teacher Robert Flowerday on a date unknown between 27-30 January last year and burglary with intent to steal on the same dates.

He is further accused of burglary of Mr Flowerday's home on December 6, 2017.

The body of the 64-year-old retired maths teacher was found at his home on the Mill Road in Crumlin on Sunday, January 28, after police called to his house because a member of the public raised concerns.

Previous courts have heard claims the retired teacher sustained injuries “of the most horrific nature” and that there was a preliminary finding of a “positive DNA” result which allegedly connects Owens “to the murder scene.”

In an unsuccessful previous bail application, Detective Sergeant Walsh chillingly outlined: “I have seen what this man is capable of. These injuries are of the most horrific nature, inflicted on an elderly man, in his own home, defenceless and there’s been no remorse shown whatsoever and I think that certainly I have a duty to protect the public and the vulnerable.”

He also alleged that Owens had confessed to a witness to the murder.

Following the ruling of Judge Broderick in court on Tuesday, Owens was afforded the opportunity to comment on the charges or call evidence but he declined.

Robert Flowerday
Robert Flowerday

Remanding him back into custody, the judge returned the case to Antrim Crown Court and ordered Owens to appear before the higher court for his arraignment on a date to be fixed.

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