Wednesday 22 November 2017

Armagh man charged with murdering his only son

A 60-year-old man appeared in court in the North today charged with murdering his only son, with police claiming a footprint linked him to the scene.

Kevin Fletcher, 32, was found stabbed to death at his flat in Castle Street, Armagh, on September 3.

His father Kevin Patrick Fletcher, from Drumarg Park, Armagh, appeared at the magistrates' court in Newry, Co Down, where he was charged with carrying out the murder.

The court heard his wife and daughter were present to support him and after the magistrate said the evidence was largely circumstantial, he was released on bail to reappear in court again on September 28.

Fletcher, who has short white hair and wore glasses and a white shirt, spoke only to confirm that he understood the charges.

PSNI Detective Sergeant Stephen McIntosh told the court he could connect the accused to the killing.

The officer said Fletcher had collected his wife and son after they had been to bingo and dropped his wife off before taking his son to his flat.

He said the murdered man suffered several stab wounds and that witnesses reported hearing cries for help from his home.

The police officer told the court a size eight footwear print was found at the dead man's home which matched shoes sold at a store in Armagh where the accused had shopped.

But the detective later added: "We have not recovered the shoes that match that mark at this time."

The officer said there was no sign of a struggle at the murder scene and there was no forensic evidence against Fletcher.

But he said police inquiries were ongoing and claimed other evidence challenged the accused's account.

"We have that through witness evidence and video evidence," he told the court.

Barrister for the accused, Conn O'Neill, said his client had a clear record and had cooperated with police.

He labelled the police case as weak and described the accused as a "60-year-old gentleman", a former factory worker who had suffered ill-health.

The lawyer added: "His family are here supporting him today."

The accused man's wife and daughter were joined by other supporters in the court.

Police opposed bail, but it was granted with a number of conditions.

The accused was ordered to appear in court in Armagh later this month.

Press Association

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