Dromore man’s murder trial begins

Leslie Ross
Leslie Ross

A jury was yesterday (Monday) sworn in for the trial of a Dromore man accused of murdering two women.

The jury of seven women and five men were given little or no background to the case, except that 67-year-old Leslie Ross, of Meganlis Park, Dromore, is charged with murdering Michelle Bickerstaff, 47, on April 21, 2012, and 50-year old Margaret Weiss on August 31, 2007.

Around 200 witnesses are listed to give evidence.

His Lordship Mr Justice Burgess warned the jury against researching the case.

The defendant, dressed in a grey suit, white shirt and striped tie, sat in the dock flanked by two prison guards listening to proceedings through court headphones.

Addressing the jury at Newry Crown Court, Mr Justice Burgess said: “There is tendency nowadays that people go hunting around on the internet looking for information and things.

“That would be a total negation of the oath you have just taken. I don’t want to terrorise you, but people have got into big trouble for this in the past.

“The only evidence that you will hear is in this courtroom.

“Speculation is all it is, speculation. It is not evidence.

“It is also important that you don’t talk to people during the course of the trial or discuss the case with each other – not until after you have heard all the evidence and I have given you my directions.

“You will then have to decide whether the prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the defendant.”

Telling the jury the case would last up to five weeks, the judge told them to return today for the start of the trial.