Northern Ireland

Kathryn Parton’s friend urged her to leave her home on night of alleged murder, court hears

Call made after friend allegedly witnessed violence of suspected killer

Kathryn Parton, known as Kat, 34, was found dead with head injuries in a house in the Madrid Street area of east Belfast
Kathryn Parton (Family Handout/PA)

Murder victim Kathryn Parton’s best friend urged her to leave home after allegedly witnessing the violence of her suspected killer, the High Court heard on Wednesday.

Prosecutors said the woman had been at 34-year-old Ms Parton’s east Belfast house on the same night police believe she was beaten to death by her partner Jamie Love.

Details emerged as bail was refused to a man accused of helping to clear up evidence and remove Love (23) from the scene.

Reece Oliver (22) of Castleton Gardens in Belfast, faces charges of assisting an offender and aiding and abetting a breach of bail in connection with the murder investigation.

Ms Parton’s body was found in the blood-stained bedroom of her Madrid Street property on May 15.

Post-mortem examinations established the mother-of-one died from haemorrhaging, a laceration to the scalp and nasal fractures.

Love, who was in a relationship with Ms Parton and lived at the address, is charged with her murder.

His 43-year-old mother, Suzanne Love allegedly aided in finding him alternative accommodation and tried to destroy evidence in the aftermath of the killing.

Detectives believe the victim lay undiscovered for six days before her father went to the property check on her wellbeing.

Based on CCTV and witness evidence, the fatal attack is thought to have been carried out on May 9.

It was revealed that Ms Parton’s best friend told police she was at the Madrid Street property that night when Oliver and Ms Love arrived.

“She described Jamie Love being violent towards the deceased and also towards Reece Oliver in the house,” prosecution counsel said.

According to the woman’s account, the three accused were all present downstairs when she departed at around 9.30pm.

“As she left she sent messages to the deceased, recommending that she leave the address because of what had happened,” the barrister disclosed.

“Apart from the defendants, she was the last person to see the deceased alive.”

Ms Parton’s next door neighbour also told detectives there was shouting and banging coming from the adjoining property that night.

Ms Love, of Isoline Street in Belfast, is charged with assisting an offender, aiding and abetting a breach of bail and attempting to pervert the course of justice in connection with the murder inquiry.

The court heard she was collected by Oliver and taken to Madrid Street on the night Ms Parton is believed to have been killed.

A short time later the three defendants were seen on CCTV footage leaving the address again along with a dog.

Jamie Love and Oliver allegedly then stayed at B&B accommodations in Strabane and Portaferry which were booked by Suzanne Love.

Two bloodied footprints found at the murder scene matched boots and trainers recovered at her home, according to the prosecution.

The footwear had been washed and put out to dry in the sun.

In a prepared statement after the three accused were arrested, Jamie Love denied knowing anything about Ms Parton’s death.

His mother told police he had been staying with her after the couple fell out and that she had washed his clothes because there was blood on them from an unrelated assault on him.

Ms Love claimed she was contacted by Oliver on May 9 to go with him to Madrid Street to collect her son’s belongings.

“She said she saw the deceased sitting on the floor crying, but not badly injured,” counsel added.

Oliver also stated that Jamie Love had asked for his help in packing up and moving out.

He denied going upstairs or seeing Ms Parton at any stage while he was in her house.

According to Oliver’s account, the two men drove to the north coast and slept in his car that night.

Ms Love then transferred money to cover the two separate B&B stays.

Opposing Oliver’s application for bail, the lawyer argued there was a risk of interference with witnesses or obstructing the course of justice.

Paul Bacon, defending, described Oliver as a vulnerable individual diagnosed with ADHD and autism.

Mr Bacon told the court Oliver had been “utilised” by the alleged murderer to drive him to locations and naively agreed to help him pack up.

Stressing that his client provided a full account to police, the barrister added: “He denied categorically being up those stairs at all.”

Oliver was refused bail.