Northern Ireland news

Jury sworn to preside in trial concerning death of William 'Pat' McCormick

A JURY has been sworn to preside in a trial concerning the death of Newtownards man William 'Pat' McCormick.

The 55-year old was last seen at the end of May 2019 and his body was recovered from a lake in Ballygowan six weeks after his disappearance.

Five people are due to stand trial on charges arising from his death, and a jury was sworn at Downpatick Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, for a hearing that is expected to last up to six weeks.

Mr Justice Scoffield said the deceased "was said to have died at a flat in Castle Street in Comber in or around the 30th of May, 2019".

"His body was recovered from a disused and flooded quarry, which was previously used as a fishing lake, near Ballygowan on the 9th of July 2019.

Regarding the five co-accused, the judge told the jury all the defendants were charged with various offences arising from Mr McCormick's death.

These charges, the judge explained, ranged from murder to withholding information.

The five defendants are Lesley Ann Dodds (23) from Ross House in Belfast, William Gill (42) from Terrace View in Warringstown, Andrew Leslie (23) from Mourne Crescent in Moneyreagh, Jonathon Richard Leslie Montgomery (33) from Castle Espie Road in Comber and Jack Rowden (22) from Hillmount Cottages in Moneyreagh.

Mr Justice Scoffield revealed that at the time of his death, Mr McCormick was a part-time caretaker, and worked as a carer for a company called All Ireland Home Care.

Evidence will be heard from witnesses including staff from All Ireland Home Care, police officers and members of Mr McCormick's family.

After telling the 12 members "you are now sworn as the jury in this case", Mr Justice Scoffield said the trial is due to start on Wednesday.

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