A man and woman were remanded in custody today (Tuesday) charged with the murder of Lurgan man Owen Creaney after they allegedly left him to die in a wheelie bin.
Appearing in the dock at Craigavon Magistrates Court 27-year-old Stephen Thomas John Hughes and Shauneen Boyle (23) were jointly charged with the murder of Owen Creaney on a date unknown between 4 - 5 July with each confirming that they understood the charge.
The charge arises after the badly beaten body of 40-year-old Mr Creaney was found hidden in a wheelie bin at the back of Hughes’ house at Moyraverty Court in the town after a report of suspicious activity on Saturday, although police believe that he may have been in the bin for a number of days.
Speaking at the time of the gruesome discovery, Detective Chief Inspector Richard Campbell said Mr Creaney, who celebrated his 40th birthday last week, was a “frail and vulnerable” member of our society who was disabled and used a walking aid.
He said while a postmortem examination was still to be held, it appeared that he “was the victim of a serious and sustained assault” and had initially survived the beating but later died while in the bin.
Today (Tuesday) a detective sergeant told the court he believed he could connect both accused to the murder.
DS Burns said police believed that Mr Creaney was assaulted either late on Wednesday evening or in the early hours of Thursday but was not given any medical assistance and died on Friday evening or Saturday morning.
He revealed that Boyle and Hughes were arrested before officers uncovered the victim’s body in a green bin at the house and that during interviews, each blamed the other for the death, not withstanding the fact that Boyle had allegedly confessed to a witness that she had assaulted Mr Creaney.
The officer further revealed that Boyle told police where the body had been hidden.
DS Burns said police were objecting to Boyle being released on bail as her lengthy criminal record indicated a “propensity” for offending and that when she was being investigated for arson, she had fled to Liverpool where she have officers false details, adding that police feared she would abscond if freed.
He also said the fear was that if released Boyle, who had “close ties” to the Craigavon area, could interfere with the investigation which was still in its early days with some witnesses already spoken to but some as yet unidentified.
Under cross examination from defence lawyer Richard Greene, the officer agreed the arson charge was not proceeded with and although he agreed there was a proposed address where she lives at Edenderry Park in Banbridge, several miles away from Craigavon, he still maintained she could interfere with the course of justice if released.
Solicitor Conor Downey said he was not applying for bail for Hughes.
Refusing the bail application and remanding the pair into custody to appear again on 25 July via videolink, District Judge Rosemary Watters said she shared the police concerns that Boyle may not turn up for trial, may “impede the investigation” and “as well as that, there is the possibility of committing further offences,” commenting that “she does have quite a lengthy record for someone of her age.”
On social media site Facebook, Hughes is pictured with his arm around his alleged victim during a party on his house, just hours before he allegedly beat him to death.