Dromore murder accused Leslie Ross refused bail

Pacemaker Press Belfast  22-08-2013: Leslie Ross is held by police in Northern Ireland over the suspicious deaths of three of his former lovers. They all lived in the town of Dromore, just outside Belfast. 'Collect of Leslie Ross. Picture identified by two members of one of the victims family.'Picture By: Pacemaker.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 22-08-2013: Leslie Ross is held by police in Northern Ireland over the suspicious deaths of three of his former lovers. They all lived in the town of Dromore, just outside Belfast. 'Collect of Leslie Ross. Picture identified by two members of one of the victims family.'Picture By: Pacemaker.

A former stonemason from Co Down who is facing trial later this year for the murders of two of his girlfriends has been denied bail.

Leslie Ross, 67, from Meganlis Park in Dromore, has been charged with murdering mother-of-four Michelle Bickerstaff, 47, on April 21, 2012, and 50-year-old Margaret Weise on August 31, 2007.

The pensioner has denied both charges, and applied for bail yesterday at Belfast Crown Court.

Prosecuting barrister Michael Chambers said the Crown was objecting to bail for a number of reasons, including there being an issue with the proposed bail address and a concern Ross may abscond.

The court heard that a new bail address was put forward, and that a female cousin of Ross’s in Bangor was willing to let him reside with her.

However, the prosecutor also revealed that police in Bangor spoke to the woman earlier this week, and that while she has agreed to let her cousin stay, she indicated “that she doesn’t wish for the police to come out and do bail address checks at her address” in a parked police car as she lives in a “quiet neighbourhood”.

Defence barrister Charles McKay QC said that a bail address in Bangor would “take him (Ross) away from the scene of his alleged offending and away from the risk of interfering with witnesses”.

Mr Justice Weir refused to grant bail and remanded Ross back in to custody. The double murder trial is due to commence in Armagh Crown Court on September 15.