The 46-year-old partner of missing Tyrone woman Charlotte Murray has been refused bail by Dungannon Magistrates’ Court, five years to the day after it is suspected she first went missing.
John Patrick Miller, a chef from Redford Park, Dungannon, who appeared via video link from Maghaberry prison, denies murdering Charlotte some time in the 24-hour period between October 31 and November 1 2012.
Originally from Omagh, but living in Moy, 34-year-old Charlotte was reported missing by her family in 2013.
They sat quietly in the gallery of the court which heard police believe she was murdered after Miller was sent explicit images of her with another man.
A detective sergeant also claimed that “traces of Charlotte’s blood were found in the bathroom of the Roxborough Heights house [the couple shared in Moy]. It was around the waste water pipe and splatters were also located on the wall behind the toilet.
“All we know is that it is Charlotte’s blood. We cannot be sure what else happened in that bathroom. Searches are ongoing for her remains as we speak.”
It was also alleged that in the hours after killing her, Miller went online looking for pawn dealers, attempting to sell off her engagement ring.
Opposing bail, the sergeant said police feared Miller, who now knows the extent of the evidence against him, might abscond as he has associates in France whom he visited in September.
“The defendant and Charlotte were in a relationship from around 2011 when they resided and worked on the island of Lusty Beg. The couple them moved to Roxborough Heights in Moy.
“They became engaged in February 2012, but Miller would later claim the relationship began to decline shortly after.
“Charlotte was at this time seeking another job and was offered a position in Belfast just prior to her disappearance,” said the sergeant.
The detective also reported at around 5.15am on November 1, a post appeared on Charlotte’s Facebook account, saying: “I’m so p***ed off with life. I have to go away for a while.”
While this was later found to have been posted from a different internet address, it was registered at the home the couple had shared.
A text was also sent from Charlotte’s mobile phone to her new employers to say she would not be coming in.
Later that day a friend also received a text from the mobile, stating: “I’m going away for a while.”
Miller was to later claim that with the relationship over, Charlotte left for Belfast, taking only her computer with her.
The sergeant further claimed that: “We believe we can prove what the defendant put forward as a statement in 2013 is lies. During three days of interview (from most recent arrest) he gave no comment responses to everything except on the missing computer.
“All these questions we put to him in relation to Charlotte’s disappearance, which are crying out for answers, but he refused to put forward any responses.
“A former girlfriend of Miller’s whom we are describing as Witness B has stated theirs was an abusive relationship. She claims she was knocked backwards down a flight of stairs.”
However, defence lawyer Peter Corrigan argued: “The presence of blood does not signify a murder occurred in that house. Animal blood was also found there. There is no evidence a murder took place in the house.”
Further claiming the court “cannot even be sure there has even been a murder,” the solicitor said Miller’s family were offering him accommodation and willing to post a £20,000 bail bond.
However, Deputy District Judge Bonita Boyd, in rejecting the application, said she was not satisfied any conditions would mitigate any risk of flight or interference with the investigation.
Miller is to appear again by video-link later this month.