Grandmother charged with alleyway murder

Edward Gibson was shot in the stomach and thigh
Edward Gibson was shot in the stomach and thigh

Grandmother charged with west Belfast alleyway murder

A grandmother has been charged with an alleyway murder in west Belfast based on new DNA evidence, a court has heard.

Edward Gibson, 28, was shot in the stomach and thigh in the city’s Divis area on October 24, 2014.

The 28-year-old father-of-one died in hospital a day later.

Margaret Goodman, 56, of Ballymurphy Parade in Belfast, appeared before the city’s magistrates’ court charged with his murder.

She is also accused of possessing a firearm and ammunition in suspicious circumstances.

Her 59-year-old husband, Malachy Goodman, of Rockmore Road in the city, is currently awaiting trial charged with the same murder.

Dressed in a black leather jacket and with her hair in a ponytail, Goodman stood in the dock as a detective said he could connect her to the alleged offences.

He opposed bail, claiming she could try to flee if released.

Based on telephone records, the officer alleged that she helped another unnamed suspect in the case cross the border.

“Given this new evidence that has come to light, DNA evidence, our concern is that Margaret will leave the jurisdiction,” he said.

Defence solicitor John Burke stressed that his client had been previously arrested, interviewed and released without charge last year.

She made no attempt to abscond despite being a suspect in the case, he argued.

Goodman was then rearrested after going to police voluntarily, the court heard.

Mr Burke also claimed: “There is one single piece of what could be described as circumstantial DNA evidence and that, police believe, is enough to charge her.”

Describing the accused as a mother of seven and grandmother of 20, he insisted that she has strong ties to her community.

Goodman was granted bail after District Judge Fiona Bagnall ruled the risks were not sufficient to justify keeping her in custody.

She ordered the accused to abide by a curfew, electronic monitoring and have no contact with witnesses.

Goodman is also excluded from entering the area around the fatal gun attack, except for hospital appointments.