Belfast Telegraph

Man accused of murdering teacher Robert Flowerday set to stand trial

Robert Flowerday was found dead in his home on Mill Road in Crumlin in January last year.
Robert Flowerday was found dead in his home on Mill Road in Crumlin in January last year.

By John Cassidy

A Co Antrim man is to stand trial next year accused of murdering a retired school teacher.

Robert Flowerday was found dead in his home on Mill Road in Crumlin in January last year.

Police called at the 64-year-old former maths teacher's house after a member of the public raised concerns.

At Belfast Crown Court yesterday, defence lawyers for unemployed Michael Gerard Owens (35), of Lisburn Road, Glenavy, argued for a delay to his arraignment hearing on charges of murdering Mr Flowerday, and for two counts of burglary to be adjourned for a period.

Defence counsel John McCrudden QC told Mr Justice Colton that the arraignment was not ready to proceed as they were "knee-deep in forensic material" including "complicated materials relating to DNA and blood distribution".

He added: "We have effectively been on the case for the last 10 days and it was only the day before yesterday that we were able to consult with the defendant in prison.

"We have a lot of material to investigate and I am inviting the court to fix a trial date."

But prosecution barrister Michael Chambers objected to any delay in the hearing.

He told the court the defendant should be "put on his plea and plead either guilty or not guilty" to the charges faced.

Mr Chambers said: "The court should not allow the arraignment to be interrupted."

Mr Justice Colton said he would accede to the defence request and adjourned the arraignment hearing for a short period.

The trial is expected to last up to six weeks, with the judge setting a provisional start date for January 13 of next year.

Belfast Telegraph

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