Belfast Telegraph

'She's still alive to me', Charlotte Murray murder accused tells court

Missing: Charlotte Murray
Missing: Charlotte Murray

By Michael Donnelly

Tyrone Chef Johnny Miller, who is accused of murdering his former fiancee Charlotte Murray, has claimed that "until the day there's a body found, she is still alive to me, and that's the truth".

The 48-year-old chef, who also denied being a "killer", was being cross-examined for a third day by prosecution QC Richard Weir at his Dungannon Crown Court trial, where he denies murdering 34-year-old Charlotte around Halloween 2012.

She disappeared from the Roxborough Heights home in the village of Moy she had shared with Miller, leaving behind her dog Bella and her Puegot car which he later sold.

Mr Miller, now with an address in Redford Park, Dungannon, claimed Charlotte left him the car's tax book and, although there was no formal agreement, he'd sold it for £480, to partly recoup £700 in rent she allegedly owed him.

However, he rejected Mr Weir's suggestion he got rid of the silver Peugeot because it was a "constant reminder... you just wanted shot of it... you wanted it away from the door, this reminder of Charlotte".

Later still the lawyer told Mr Miller, "the reason why she left the car was because she was dead and beyond needing the car", to which he replied: "No chance... no chance".

Mr Miller also told the jury of eight men and four woman that he wanted Charlotte “to walk through the door someday and say, 'sorry about all of this'.”

He also maintained his belief that Charlotte is still alive “even now because I know I didn’t kill her.”

Mr Miller said that when he first learned, through Charlotte's twin Denise, that she never showed for their Christmas birthday, he was "shocked" and that he "just thought, I hope she's all right", before adding that he "didn't know" what had happened to her.

Asked if a person's lack at keeping in touch was because "like they had been killed or something?", Mr Miller said: "You never know", an answer he repeated when put to him: "or when they died".

Murder accused Johnny Miller
Murder accused Johnny Miller

The chef said when police came to search their former home his "whole life fell to pieces".  Eventually he was arrested, but on the advice of his solicitor he had mainly answered 'no comment'.

At that stage he said he "didn't know what to be thinking, what's right and what's wrong", and that when he was being questioned he still believed his former fiancee "is not dead... alive".

As his cross-examination continued, about his police interviews, Mr Miller declared: "I know I didn't kill her, and that's my bottom line... I didn't kill that wee girl".

When it was suggested that Charlotte had not come forward to clear him, he maintained: "No she's alive... in my mind she's alive... until the day there's a body found, she's alive to me, and that's the truth".

Refuting suggestions he had "declined to assist police in finding her," Mr Miller persisted in his belief: "I know she's alive, and that's it", before adding that "she's still alive, yes, even now, because I know I didn't kill her".

Eliciting the response from Mr Weir: "So you say".

He was also challenged about alleged inconsistencies in statements he made during his police questioning, and it was asked of him if they were a “demonstration of your capacity to lie”.

Mr Miller replied: “Murdering someone is a big, big thing. I’m not telling lies about this" and further denied he'd tried to blacken Charlotte’s name while portraying himself as “a put upon soul”.

He later rejected that he "knew fine rightly that Charlotte hadn't left the house", as he claimed she had only taking some clothing and her make-up.

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