Denise Dunlop murder - not guilty plea entered

Denise Dunlop.
Denise Dunlop.

A man has appeared in Belfast Crown Court to deny the murder of his partner at her home in Ballymena last year.

Denise Dunlop, 31, was found dead at her home in the Centuripe Avenue area of the town in the early hours of Father’s Day last June.

Richard McAuley.

Richard McAuley.

On Friday, 41-year-old Richard McAuley, from Townhill Road in Portglenone, appeared in the dock for an arraignment hearing.

When the murder charge was put to him, he replied: “Not guilty.”

A defence QC told presiding judge Mr Justice Weir that he planned to engage the services of a telecommunications expert to examine “text message traffic” between the phones of McAuley and that of the deceased.

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

McAuley was remanded back into custody ahead of progress in the case being reviewed in March.

The trial is due to get underway in May.