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Partner of Kathryn Parton remanded after being accused of her murder

The partner of Kathryn Parton has been accused of her murder (Liam McBurney/PA)
The partner of Kathryn Parton has been accused of her murder (Liam McBurney/PA)

The partner of a woman found dead in her home in east Belfast has been remanded into custody accused of her murder.

Kathryn Parton, known as Kat, 34, was found dead with head injuries in the bedroom of her home on Madrid Street on May 15.

However, Belfast Magistrates’ Court heard police believe she may have been fatally assaulted on May 9.

Ms Parton’s father was said to have found her on May 15 after not hearing from his daughter in a number of days and raised the alarm.

Kathryn Parton death
Kathryn Parton, known as Kat, 34, was found dead with head injuries in a house in the Madrid Street area of east Belfast (Family handout/PSNI/PA)

On Monday, Jamie Love, 23, of Madrid Street in east Belfast, appeared in court where he was charged with the murder of Ms Parton on a date between May 9 and May 15 with the aggravating factor of domestic abuse.

His mother Suzanne Love, 43, of Isoline Street, was charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice, assisting offenders and aiding and abetting breach of bail.

Meanwhile, Reece Oliver, 22, of Castleton Avenue, was also charged with assisting offenders and aiding and abetting breach of bail.

All three appeared in the dock at Belfast Magistrates’ Court on Monday afternoon and indicated they understood the charges that were put to them.

A detective inspector said she believed she could connect the accused to the charges.

No bail application was made on behalf of Mr Love, and he is due to appear next before court via video link on June 17.

Bail applications were made on behalf of Ms Love and Mr Oliver.

The detective told the court that Ms Parton was found lying beside the bed of her bedroom with head injuries and blood visible. She said there were signs of a disturbance with a television broken on the floor and brackets still hanging on the wall.

“Police immediately treated this as a suspicious death and set up a scene,” she said.

“We were informed that Jamie Love was Kathryn’s partner and he would reside on and off at Kathryn’s address.”

Belfast Incident
Police believe that Kathryn Parton was fatally assaulted in her home on May 9 (Liam McBurney/PA)

The detective said CCTV and witness evidence led police to believe Ms Parton had been assaulted in her home on May 9.

A post-mortem was not able to establish when exactly Ms Parton had died from her injuries, but police believe the cause of death to be from haemorrhaging.

The detective said Ms Parton was last seen alive earlier that day with Mr Love on CCTV.

Ms Love was described as having been present when Mr Love was arrested on suspicion of Ms Parton’s murder, and said he had been staying with her “as he had fallen out with Kathryn”.

“Suzanne informed police that she had been contacted by Reece Oliver on the evening of Thursday May 9 to come and help him with Jamie. Reece had gone to Suzanne’s house, picked her up with a car and both went back to Madrid Street where she went into the house and stated that Kathryn was sitting on the floor crying but was uninjured,” the detective told the court.

“Later in interview, she changed that version of events to say that Kathryn was lying on the floor in the bedroom and was injured but didn’t realise how badly injured she was. She said that all three left later in Reece’s car with all of Jamie’s property and also took Jamie’s dogs with them.”

The detective said witnesses have made statements in relation to “shouting and banging” at the house on Madrid Street between 9pm and 10.30pm on May 9.

The detective went on to outline the police case that on May 9, Mr Oliver drove Mr Love to the north coast and then to accommodation in Strabane, Co Tyrone booked by Ms Love, and on the following day, Mr Oliver collected Mr Love in Strabane and drove him to accommodation in Portaferry, Co Down, also booked by Ms Love.

Belfast Magistrates' Court (Niall Carson/PA)
Three accused appeared in the dock at Belfast Magistrates’ Court (Niall Carson/PA)

The court also heard a contention that shoes worn by Mr Love, Ms Love and Mr Oliver were washed by Ms Love. The detective told the court that police have recovered the three pairs of shoes that they believe the three were wearing at the time of the alleged offence.

The detective said the police investigation remains ongoing, with some witnesses still to be spoken to and forensic investigations to be completed.

She said police objected to bail for Ms Love due to the potential risk of flight and of interference with witnesses.

In terms of Mr Oliver, the detective said there is a fear of potential interference with witnesses and concern he “may obstruct the course of justice”.

A defence lawyer for Ms Love said his client had co-operated with police, providing her phones and he also rejected the contention she may interfere with witnesses.

A defence lawyer for Mr Oliver described his client as a “very vulnerable man”, and said he had been informed of Ms Parton’s death by police. He also said Mr Oliver had given police as much information as he could, and that there was no flight risk.

However bail was refused for both, and they are due to appear before court via videolink on June 17.

There were shouts from the public gallery in court as the three were led from the dock.