Portglenone man denies murdering partner at her home

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A Portglenone man has denied murdering his partner at her home last year.

Richard McAuley (41) of Townhill Road in Portglenone, appeared in the dock at Belfast Crown Court on Friday for an arraignment hearing.

When the charge of murdering Denise Dunlop on a date unknown between June 13, 2014 and June 16, 2014, McAuley replied: “Not guilty.’’

Ms Dunlop (31) was found dead at her Centuripe Avenue home in Ballymena in the early hours of Father’s Day last June.

A defence QC told Mr Justice Weir today that he planned to engage the services a telecommunications expert to examine “text message traffic’’ between Mr McAuley’s phone and that of the deceased.

A prosecution lawyer said the two mobile phones were in the possession of the police and would be made available for defence examination.

Mr Justice Weir set the date for trial in May this year at a courthouse yet to be fixed.

The judge remanded McAuley back into custody and said he would review progress in the case in March.