Murder victim Roy Reynolds suffered over 100 injuries before being dumped in Co Antrim reservoir

Over 100 injuries were inflicted upon a murdered Co Antrim man whose semi-naked remains were dumped in a reservoir, a court heard today. Details surrounding the "ferocious" fatal attack on Roy Reynolds emerged for the first time during a plea hearing at Belfast Crown Court. Mr Reynolds, who was in his 50s, was beaten and stabbed in a flat in Rathcoole in March 2022.

His remains were then placed in the boot of a car and taken to a reservoir where an attempt to submerge his body was made via the use of a breezeblock. Michael Campbell (34), whose address was given as HMP Maghaberry, has admitted murdering Mr Reynolds on a date between March 26 and 29, 2022. He has also admitted a charge of attempting to prevent the burial of a body on March 28, 2022. Robert Mervyn Fulton (70), from Brickhill Park in Newtownabbey, was called by Campbell in the aftermath of the murder and drove his co-accused to the reservoir with Mr Reynolds body in the boot of his Toyota car. The pensioner pleaded guilty to a charge of assisting an offender on a date between March 26 and 29, 2022. After listening to submissions from both the Crown and defence, Mr Justice O'Hara said he needed time to reflect on what he had heard and said he would sentence both men on March 13. Prior to this, the senior judge was addressed by Crown barrister Ciaran Murphy KC who branded the incident as a "ferocious, brutal killing." Mr Reynolds, who lived in Newtownabbey, was last seen on CCTV walking on his own at around 8.45pm on Sunday March 27 on Derrycoole Way in Rathcoole. Mr Murphy said "the evidence suggests" he was murdered in Campbell's flat at Derrycoole Way some time between the evening of Sunday March 27 and the early hours of the following morning. Around 10pm on Sunday evening, Campbell sent a video message to a relative from his flat where Mr Reynolds was present. At around 4.30am on Monday morning, police received a call regarding a naked body being dragged from a flat and placed into the boot of a car. The witness provided police with the car's registration, which was quickly traced to Fulton. Details were circulated to police and the vehicle was stopped just before 7am on Monday in Rathcoole. Officers observed bloodstains on Campbell, who claimed he has been fighting with his brother and when the vehicle was searched, pools of blood were visible in the boot and other areas of the Toyota. This was pointed out to Fulton and when officers suggested someone was badly hurt, he said "aye, I know." When asked if there had been a body in his boot, Fulton replied "sure you know rightly". Campbell was arrested on suspicion on murder and he replied 'murdered who?' Mr Reynolds body was discovered at 8.30am that morning in shallow water at North Woodburn Reservoir in Carrickfergus. A woman walking her dogs was approached by a male who said he had found a body in the water but had no signal on his phone. Police were called and the semi-naked remains were located in reeds. A breezeblock had been attached which Mr Murphy said was done "with the clear intention the body would not be found." Also located was a blood-stained pile of clothes, towels and bin-bags and life was pronounced extinct at the scene. Futher searches were conducted at Campbell's flat, which indicated signs of a serious assault. All areas of the flat were heavily blood-stained and there was also a trail of blood leading from the flat to a car park. Clothing, a knife and screwdriver were seized the flat - all which bore Mr Reynolds blood. A post mortem revealed he died from multiple injuries to his neck, head, chest and abdomen. Revealing there were "well in excess of 100 sites of injuries" on the surface of Mr Reynolds body, the prosecutor said these were inflicted by a "variety of mechanisms". The court heard his injuries included stamps, kicks and punches as well as the use of weapons and strangulation. Turning to the interviews conducted with Campbell, the prosecutor said that over the course of 11 interviews, he provided an account of what happened. He claimed he invited Mr Reynolds to his flat for a drink, that he was provoked and that he acted in self-defence. Campbell said that during an altercation, Mr Reynolds fell backwards and hit his head on a file floor. Saying he panicked and called Fulton, Campbell also told police he needed to get Mr Reynolds out of his flat and into his car. He also said he didn't use any weapons in the attack and didn't intend causing Mr Reynolds serious harm. Regarding the disposal, he said he just drove around trying to find a place where the body he would be easily found. Branding his account as a "series of multiple lies", Mr Murphy said it was "not supported by the evidence in any way" including the multiple injuries sustained and the presence of the breezeblock. During his interviews, Fulton told police the only role he played was driving Campbell to the reservoir which was accepted. Mr Murphy concluded by saying this was a case involving "extensive gratuitous violence" and the stripping and weighing down of a body. Defence barrister Brendan Kelly KC said his "vulnerable" client Campbell had a background of mental health issues which emerged when he was aged ten. Mr Kelly said that despite the evidence, Campbell "stands by" his claim that he was provoked and added his guilty plea indicated remorse. Eilis MacDermott KC expressed apologies to the family of the deceased on behalf of her client Fulton who she said was "horrified about what he became involved in." She also spoke of Fulton's health issues as well as the 15 months he has already spent on remand. Following the submissions, Mr Justice O'Hara said he would sentence Fulton and impose a Tariff on Campbell later this month.

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