Northern Ireland

Rathcoole murder victim Roy Reynolds sustained more than 100 injuries

The body of 54-year-old Roy Reynolds was recovered from a Co Antrim reservoir in March.
Roy Reynolds

MORE than 100 injuries were inflicted on a murdered Co Antrim man whose semi-naked remains were dumped in a reservoir, a court heard on Friday.

Details surrounding the “ferocious” fatal attack on Roy Reynolds emerged for the first time during a plea hearing at Belfast Crown Court.

Mr Reynolds, who was 54, was beaten and stabbed in a flat in Rathcoole in March 2022.

His remains were then placed in the boot of a car and taken to a reservoir where an attempt to submerge his body was made via the use of a breeze block.

Michael Campbell (34), whose address was given as HMP Maghaberry, has admitted murdering Mr Reynolds on a date between March 26 and 29, 2022.

He has also admitted a charge of attempting to prevent the burial of a body on March 28, 2022.

Robert Mervyn Fulton (70), from Brickhill Park in Newtownabbey, was called by Campbell in the aftermath of the murder and drove his co-accused to the reservoir.

The pensioner pleaded guilty to a charge of assisting an offender.

Hearing submissions Mr Justice O’Hara was addressed by Crown barrister Ciaran Murphy KC who branded the attack as a “ferocious, brutal killing.”

Mr Reynolds, who lived in Newtownabbey, was last seen on CCTV walking on his own at around 8.45pm on Sunday March 27 on Derrycoole Way in Rathcoole.

Mr Murphy said “the evidence suggests” he was murdered in Campbell’s flat some time between the evening of Sunday March 27 and the early hours of the following morning.

At around 4.30am on Monday morning, a caller told police they saw a naked body being dragged from a flat and placed into the boot of a car.

The witness provided police with the car’s registration, which was quickly traced to Fulton.

When officers tracked the vehicle with the two men in it they noted bloodstains on Campbell, who claimed he has been fighting with his brother and when the vehicle was searched, pools of blood were visible in the boot and other areas.

When asked if there had been a body in his boot, Fulton replied “sure you know rightly”.

Mr Reynolds’ body was discovered at 8.30am that morning, in shallow water at North Woodburn Reservoir in Carrickfergus.

A breeze block had been attached which Mr Murphy said was done “with the clear intention the body would not be found.”

Further searches were conducted at Campbell’s flat, which indicated signs of a serious assault.

Clothing, a knife and screwdriver were seized - all which bore Mr Reynolds’ blood.

A post mortem revealed he died from multiple  injuries to his neck, head, chest and abdomen.

Revealing there were “well in excess of 100 sites of injuries” on Mr Reynolds body, the prosecutor said these were inflicted by a “variety of mechanisms”.

The court heard they included stamps, kicks and punches as well as the use of weapons and strangulation.

Turning to the interviews conducted with Campbell, the prosecutor said he claimed he invited Mr Reynolds to his flat for a drink, but was provoked and that he acted in self-defence.

Campbell said that during an altercation, Mr Reynolds fell backwards and hit his head. He also said he didn’t use any weapons.

Branding his account as a “series of multiple lies”, Mr Murphy said it was “not supported by the evidence in any way”.

During his interviews, Fulton told police the only role he played was driving Campbell to the reservoir which was accepted.

Defence barrister Brendan Kelly KC said his “vulnerable” client Campbell had a background of mental health issues.

Mr Kelly said that despite the evidence, Campbell “stands by” his claim that he was provoked and added his guilty plea indicated remorse.

Following the submissions, Mr Justice O’Hara said he would sentence Fulton and impose a Tariff on Campbell later this month.