Christopher Mackin murder: police remand two in custody after court appearance

Friday, March 9, 2012

Julie-Ann Valliday, 35, and her 40-year-old husband Charles Stephen Valliday were remanded in custody Tuesday after appearing in Belfast Magistrates' Court, Northern Ireland, having both been charged with the murder of Christopher Mackin on March 1. A police officer stated the accused "worked together" and "lured" Mackin to his death.

Meanwhile, a 27-year-old man has been released from custody without condition, after he was arrested by police on Monday in relation to Mackin's murder. Previously, a 24-year-old woman also had been released on no conditions after arrest over the same incident.

In the Vallidays' case, the court was informed of fifteen cartridges discovered at the murder scene, College Square North in Belfast. A detective inspector told the court of Mackin and Julie-Ann arranging to meet each other, in the four hours before his killing, contacting each other by phone and via text on fifty instances. Text messages by Mackin illustrated he "had some concerns and suspected he may have been set up for something, but nevertheless went on to have the meeting", the detective stated. The detective said Charles was a drug dealer in the Northern Irish capital, with his wife also involved.

Defence lawyers have suggested the case against their clients is weak. Paul McCrudden, Julie-Ann's lawyer, cited an absence of evidence linking Julie-Ann to the murder scene, claiming the case was based "on police speculation, on backstreet rumour and on salacious gossip". Similarly, Billy McNulty, Charles' lawyer, described the charge against his client as "hastily cobbled together, based on speculation, rumour, innuendo, call it what you like, but no concrete evidence to link Mr Valliday to the charge".

The couple have been denied bail for murder, with the judge citing concerns relating to absconding, witness interference and the absence of any murder weapon, which the detective said was "still out there".

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