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Friday 29 August 2014

Stonemason charged with murder of two exes to be prosecuted for death of third

Published 27/03/2014 | 16:13

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Lily McKee, one of the three women whose deaths are being investigated by the PSNI

A stonemason charged with murdering two former girlfriends is to be prosecuted for the murder of a third ex-partner.

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Pensioner Leslie Ross from Dromore, Co Down in Northern Ireland was told today that he will face prosecution over the death of mother-of-one Lily McKee, 52, from the same town in 2002.

Last year the 66-year-old was charged and remanded in custody over the murders of former partners Michelle Bickerstaff, 47, and Margaret Weise, 50, in Dromore.

Ms Bickerstaff, a mother of four, was found dead in April 2012, while Ms Weise's body was discovered in August 2007.

At the time of the two initial charges, police passed on a file on the death of Ms McKee to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) for assessment.

At a court hearing in Newry today the PPS revealed that a decision had been made to prosecute Ross, from Meganlis Park, Dromore, for a third murder.

A spokeswoman for the Public Prosecution Service said: "Today in court the PPS advised the court that a decision has been taken to prosecute Leslie Ross for three murders."

Ross's solicitor Conleth Downey said his client denied involvement in all three women's deaths.

Last year Ross was also charged with three other offences - indecent assault, gross indecency with a child and indecently assaulting a female child - all on dates between 1979 and 1990.

Prosecutors today withdrew those counts "without prejudice".

It is understood they will now be pursued through separate court proceedings at a later date.

Detectives investigating the three alleged murders in Dromore are also probing the circumstances of another woman's death in the town.

Margaret Stronge, 58, who was known as Peggy, was found dead in Moss Lane in July, 1982.

A spokeswoman for the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) today said the inquiries into Ms Stronge's death were "ongoing".

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