Man accused of brutal murder in flat

Marcell Seeley (34) who was found dead in Lurgan in October 2015. Pacemaker Belfast
Marcell Seeley (34) who was found dead in Lurgan in October 2015. Pacemaker Belfast

A Lurgan man accused of kicking another man to death is to be tried before a jury for murder, a judge ordered yesterday.

Mark Daniel Ward appeared for his Preliminary Enquiry at Craigavon Magistrates Court via videolink from Maghaberry prison, telling the court he was aware of the single charge against him.

Unemployed Ward, 25, from Drumellen Gardens, is in custody accused of the murder of Marcell ‘junior’ Seeley on a date unknown between 9-13 October last year and previous courts have heard that he “strenuously denies” involvement.

Previous courts have also heard how Mr Seeley, 34, was found dead in his ground floor flat in the Dingwell Park area of Lurgan and Ward was arrested the following day.

It is understood Mr Seeley’s remains had lain undiscovered in the property in the Taghnevan estate for a number of days before his remains were found.

A post mortem revealed Mr Seeley died from blunt force trauma, with extensive bruising to his head, face and shoulders, and a severe laceration to his ear.

During an unsuccessful bail application at an earlier hearing, it was alleged that Ward could be linked to the incident through footwear marks found on the body and at the scene as well as his DNA profile being uncovered in a cigarette butt which lay a few feet from Mr Seeley’s badly beaten body.

It has been alleged previously by the PPS that his injuries were consistent with a combination of blows, including punches, kicks and stamping and that at one stage, Ward is alleged to have told a witness: “Junior, two upper cuts and one to the right.”

None of the alleged circumstances leading to the murder were opened in court yesterday but a PPS lawyer submitted that the papers and statements formed the basis for a prima facie case against Ward, a submission which defence lawyer Aaron Thompson took no issue with.

Ward was told that although not obliged to, he had the right to comment on the charge, give evidence to the PE himself or call witnesses on his behalf but the alleged killer declined, opting to remain silent.

Returning the case to the Crown Court, District Judge Bernie Kelly said she was satisfied there was a case to answer and ordered Ward to appear at Laganside courthouse on November 4 for arraignment, extending legal aid to allow a senior barrister to be instructed for the defence.