Belfast Telegraph

Tyrone quarry being drained in hunt for murdered Charlotte

Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

Police began work yesterday to drain a Co Tyrone quarry in the search for the body of murder victim Charlotte Murray.

The 34-year-old Omagh woman was killed seven years ago between October 31 and November 1, 2012, and her remains have never been recovered.

Her fiance, Coleraine-born chef Johnny Miller (48), was convicted of her murder earlier this month and is due to be sentenced in November.

Benburb Valley Park has been an area of interest to detectives investigating the case for years.

It is popular with families and joggers, some of whom were oblivious yesterday as they passed a digger starting excavation work to drain a flooded quarry.

The Blackwater River also runs through the wooded area, which Miller had often visited for his canoeing hobby.

Specialist divers previously searched the area without success and detective chief inspector Eamonn Corrigan said the latest step was needed to get "full assurance" there was nothing on the quarry floor.

"We are determined to do everything possible to recover Charlotte's body," he said.

He renewed an appeal for anyone with information which could help with the search to come forward.

"Whilst we have no specific information that Charlotte is here, I have reviewed all the information in the investigation which has been going on for six years and information from the subsequent trial, which means we are still interested in draining this quarry to have full assurance that the bottom of it has been searched," he said.

Charlotte Murray
Charlotte Murray
Detective chief inspector Eamonn Corrigan
Killer Miller

"Charlotte's family still have no real closure.

"They need to get her body so they can continue their journey and to get some closure.

"They want to lay Charlotte to rest.

"They want to know what happened to her."

The officer said he had no further message for Miller at this time.

"I believe that other people know about the events of October and November 2012.

"I would ask them to search their conscience and to contact us," he said.

"Certainly, we are still following lines of enquiry to establish where Charlotte is."

He declined to make any further comment when asked if he believed that an accomplice had helped Miller hide the body.

The Sunday Life reported that detectives on the case are convinced he had help and that it's understood the suspect is a close friend of the killer.

Following the court case, Ms Murray's family said they plan to campaign for a new law in her name which will compel convicted killers to reveal the whereabouts of a victim's body.

Her identical twin Denise also pleaded with Miller to end their agony.

"We still don't have her body home and we still haven't had the chance to say goodbye," she said.

"Charlotte deserves a proper, decent burial and her family deserve the chance to mourn her."

More progress in the search is expected this week, dependent on how quickly the quarry drainage occurs.

Other locations in the area will also have some search activity.

Anyone with information is urged to contact police on 101 or phone Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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