A CHEF has been found guilty at Dungannon Crown Court of murdering Omagh woman, Charlotte Murray.
The verdict was delivered by the jury following a three week trial. They had been deliberating since yesterday (Monday).
John Patrick Miller from Redford Park in Dungannon was charged with killing Charlotte (34) on a date between October 30 and November 1 2012.
She had disappeared from the house that they shared in Roxborough Heights, Moy, leaving behind her dog Bella, and her Peugeot car which he later sold.
Althought initially treated as a missing person investigation, it was later upgraded to a murder prove. Charlotte’s body has never been found, nor has any of her property.
After four weeks of evidence, Judge Stephen Fowler QC recapped both the prosecution and defence cases, describing events from Charlotte’s last known movements.
He told the jury if they of eight men and four women the evidence had to convince them of three matters. The first is that Charlotte Murray is in fact dead; the second is that Miller killed her and the third, at the time of the killing he either intended to kill her, or intended, at the very least to cause her really serious harm.
In that instance, said the judge, “You must return a verdict of murder. If he killed her by accident and didn’t intend to do so, you must find him guilty of the act of manslaughter. If you don’t know where the truth lies, the prosecution have not made out their case and you must acquit.”
The jury retired to commence deliberations on Monday afternoon, resuming today.
Members of both families were seated in the public gallery, having attended every day of the trial for the verdict.
At exactly 12 noon, the jury foreman was asked for the verdict on the charge of murder and replied “Guilty.”
Charlotte’s mother and twin sister wept silently and was comforted by family and friends, while others briefly broke out in applause.
Miller’s parents and sister appeared stunned.
Judge Fowler told Miller, now visibly shaking and crying, “You have been found guilty of murder and the only sentence is life imprisonment. You will be remanded in custody.”
He was handcuffed and taken to the cells, looking briefly to family members as he passed them.
A tariff hearing will take place next month to determine the duration of sentence.