Belfast woman Leslie Ann Dodds admits manslaughter of William 'Pat' McCormick

A woman has admitted to the killing of a man she had been involved in a relationship with.

Leslie Ann Dodds, 24, of Ross House, Mount Vernon Road in north Belfast, was due to go on trial at Craigavon Crown Court accused of the murder of William 'Pat' McCormick, in May 2019.

However, prosecuting KC David McDowell amended the indictment to include the lesser offence of manslaughter, or unlawful killing.

With around a dozen members of Mr McCormick’s family looking on from the public gallery, they maintained dignified silence as Dodds said simply “guilty” when the fresh charge was put to her.

Standing alongside her in the dock, 23-year-old Andrew Leslie, from Mourne Crescent in Moneyreagh, was re-arraigned and entered a guilty plea to withholding information that, despite knowing David Gill had committed murder, failed to pass on the information.

Following their confessions, Mr McDowell applied for the outstanding charges, Dodds’ murder charge and Leslie’s two counts of perverting justice, to be left on the books.

Earlier this year, Dodds’ fiancé David Gill, 29, of no fixed abode, was handed a life sentence after he admitted Mr McCormick’s murder.

Two other men, Gill’s older brother William Gill (42), from Terrace View in Warringstown and 23-year-old Jonathon Montgomery from Castle Espie Road in Comber also admitted a charge of withholding information between 31 May and 5 July 2019.

Previous courts heard how Dodds was having an affair with 54-year-old father-of-four Mr McCormick when she asked him to meet her at her former flat on Castle Street in Comber on 30 May 2019.

The part-time cleaner and care worker texted her back saying: "I think you're setting me up for a kicking."

Tragically, he was never seen again and his body was recovered from a flooded, disused quarry in Ballygowan on 9 July with post-mortem examinations revealing he had sustained multiple rib fractures.

The victim had even rang police to say that he was in fear for his own safety and prosecuting lawyers have previously conceded that while Dodds wasn’t at the flat during the attack, she was recorded on CCTV arriving about an hour after Mr McCormick.

The following day, Gill was seen coming and going from the flat and it’s then that he disposed of the body in the lake.

In court on Tuesday Dodds’ defence KC Eilish McDermott applied for her to be freed on continuing bail while reports from the probation board and a psychiatrist are compiled, highlighting the defendant had been on bail since July 2019 with no issues.

John Kearney KC, acting for Leslie, had a similar application and although Mr McDowell reminded the court now they had confessed their guilt “there is no presumption in favour of bail,” Mr Justice Scoffield said it was his view the quality of the various reports would be better, and therefore the court better informed, if bail was granted.

Adjourning the case to 22 November with a view to sentencing in January, the senior judge warned however “it should go without saying it’s absolutely no indication of the ultimate disposal of the case for obvious reasons".

Lateron Tuesday, prosecuting KC David McDowell applied for the charges against Jack Rowden (22), from Hillmount Cottages in Moneyreagh, to also be left on the books.

Rowden had faced three charges - two of perverting the course of justice and one of withholding information on dates between 31 May and 5 July 2019 and Mr Justice Scoffield ordered the charges are “not to be proceeded with without the leave of this court or the Court of Appeal.”

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