| 11.7°C Belfast

Preliminary hearing for murder trial is scheduled

Close

Robert Flowerday

Robert Flowerday

Michael Owens, charged with the murder of Robert Flowerday

Michael Owens, charged with the murder of Robert Flowerday

Robert Flowerday

A man accused of the murder of a retired teacher will have his preliminary enquiry hearing next month, a judge ordered yesterday.

Michael Owens (34) was due to appear at Antrim Magistrates Court via video-link from Maghaberry prison.

However, he was not presented by prison staff as the judge was told there was an issue with his health.

Owens, from the Lisburn Road in Glenavy, is charged with the murder of popular former Antrim Grammar School teacher Robert Flowerday in January this year.

He is further accused with the burglary of Mr Flowerday's home on December 6 last year.

The body of the 64-year-old, was found at his home on the Mill Road in Crumlin after police were called to his house by a member of the public who had 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 bail application, a police officer stated: "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.

In court yesterday, a prosecuting lawyer said the case was ready for a preliminary enquiry, the legal process which would see the case referred to the Crown Court for trial.

The lawyer for the Public Prosecution Service confirmed to defence solicitor Tony Caher the necessary papers would be served on him.

The case is to be reviewed on December 11, with the preliminary enquiry planned for the following week.

Belfast Telegraph