Belfast Telegraph

Shoes 'link accused to murder scene'

By Alan Erwin

Footwear evidence allegedly links a murder accused to a man found kicked and stamped to death at his home in Co Armagh, the High Court heard.

Prosecutors also claimed Mark Ward's DNA was on a cigarette discovered within feet of Marcell "Junior" Seeley's body.

Ward (24), of Drumellan Gardens in Craigavon, denies a charge of murdering Mr Seeley on a date between October 9 and 13 last year.

As he applied for bail, a judge was that ambulance paramedics found the victim's body in his flat at Dingwell Park in the town.

A post-mortem examination revealed Mr Seeley died from blunt force trauma, with extensive bruising to his head, face and shoulders, and a severe laceration to his ear. Conor Maguire, prosecuting, said the injuries were consistent with a combination of blows, including punches, kicks and stamping.

It was claimed that Ward had been at the victim's home during a prolonged period of drinking. At one stage he is alleged to have told a witness: "Junior, two upper cuts and one to the right."

Mr Maguire contended that footwear marks found on and beside Mr Seeley's body were consistent with a brand the defendant was allegedly seen wearing on CCTV footage.

The accused refused to answer police questions about the shoes, which have not been recovered, the court heard.

Inquiries have been made with the shoe manufacturer as part of comparison work.

Referring to DNA evidence allegedly linking Ward, Mr Maguire said: "It was recovered on a cigarette found in the middle of the floor approximately four to five feet from the body of the deceased."

Mr Justice Treacy was told the accused had admitted knowing the murder victim and drinking with him in the past. But defence counsel said Ward's DNA was just one of 95 forensic items retrieved from the flat, including profiles for other unknown people.

Referring to the "phantom footprint", the barrister claimed it was the first time he had encountered comparisons being made with an unrecovered shoe.

The application for bail was based on delay in the case, with the defence team stressing Ward had spent more than eight months in custody.

Adjourning the application, however, Mr Justice Treacy directed the prosecution to provide a timeline of when all evidence would be ready.

He said: "I don't want any waffle, I just want to bring definition to it."

Belfast Telegraph


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