Man charged with murders of ‘ex partners

Staff reporter

A MAN has been charged with the murders of two women five years apart in Dromore, County Down.

Leslie Ross, 66, who had been arrested in connection with the deaths in “suspicious circumstances” of three women in the town over the last eleven years, appeared at Armagh Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

He was accused of murdering 47-year-old Michelle Bickerstaff, who was found dead in April 2012 and Margaret Weise, 50, who died in August 2007. Both were ex-partners.

Mr Ross was also charged separately with indecent assault, gross indecency with a child and indecently assaulting a female child.

Leslie Ross’s solicitor, Conleth Downey, told reporters outside the court that his client would be denying all the charges.

He said: “In essence Mr Ross has indicated that he categorically and vehemently denies all allegations of wrongdoing. That has been pointed out to the court this morning and at the earliest opportunity he will robustly defend all matters.”

The police say a file surrounding the circumstances of a third woman’s death a decade ago has been forwarded to the Public Prosecution Service.

Detectives had previously described the death of 52 year old Lily McKee as suspicious. Ms McKee, a former beauty queen, also lived in the town and according to her only daughter Jenny Dickson had been in an on-off relationship with Ross for some 11 years.

Ross, who was led from the dock to be taken away to Maghaberry high security prison in Co Antrim, will appear in court again via videolink on September 19.

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