Belfast Telegraph

No signs missing Charlotte Murray is alive, officer tells Tyrone murder trial

Johnny Miller is accused of the murder of his former fiancee Charlotte Murray (pictured)
Johnny Miller is accused of the murder of his former fiancee Charlotte Murray (pictured)

By Michael Donnelly

The police officer who headed the seven-year investigation into the disappearance and alleged murder of Charlotte Murray has said he believes she is dead.

Detective Chief Inspector Eamonn Corrigan was giving evidence yesterday at the Dungannon Crown Court trial of the Co Tyrone woman's former fiance Johnny Miller.

However, the senior detective rejected defence claims that he was "usurping the function" of the jury in the case.

Mr Corrigan was asked at the end of his evidence by prosecution QC Richard Weir were there, according to the protocols that he followed, any signs that Ms Murray "is alive and engaging" in any social activities.

"There is nothing," said the detective, to show that "Charlotte Murray is engaging with normal society", before adding, "and I believe she is dead".

Defence QC Orland Pownall immediately put it to Mr Corrigan that: "Your opinion counts for nothing." To which he replied that he was "asked for his opinion" based on his "proof of life enquiries" carried out into Charlotte's disappearance.

The detective said extensive and exhaustive enquiries were carried out by a team of detectives over the years following the protocols, or template as set down by the National Crime Agency, which included a yellow worldwide alert issued by Interpol.

Over the years more than 600 people have been spoken to, with help sought from other police agencies, including An Garda Siochana, as well as links to all 45 police services in the UK, with requests for information from over 430 councils and local authorities, health services, charities, airlines, transport companies, including rail networks, social services and HMRC.

Asked if they revealed anything on Charlotte's possible whereabouts, including 10 potential sightings of her, not only in Moy, but also in Birmingham, London, Belfast, Monaghan and Edinburgh, he said all had drawn a blank.

However, while he also accepted defence suggestions that there were some people who just wanted to disappear, the detective said that no one had suggested to him that Charlotte does not want to be found.

It is expected that the prosecution will close their case today before the defence for Mr Miller opens theirs before the jury of six men and six women.

Mr Miller, with an address in Redford Park, Dungannon, denies murdering Charlotte following her disappearance from the Roxborough Heights home they shared in the village of Moy sometime between October 31 and November 2, 2012.

The trial continues.

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