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Murder Trial

Pat McCormick: Five sentenced in connection to murder of father of four from Co Down

Pat McCormick’s body was discovered in a lake after a six week search.

FIVE PEOPLE HAVE been sentenced in relation to the murder of Pat McCormick, after his body was discovered in a wheelie bin that was dumped in a lake in 2019.

David Gill, 30, has been handed down a life sentence of at least 16 years after he admitted to murdering the 55-year-old.

Lesley Ann Dodds, Gill’s fiance, five and a half years with 33 months to be served in custody and the remainder on licence, for manslaughter.

For withholding information, Andrew Leslie, 24, was sentenced to 15 months in prison suspended for two years, William Gill, 43, was given a one year sentence suspended for two years and Jonathan Montgomery, 24, was sentenced to 15 months suspended for two years.

Pat was from Saintfield, a village in County Down, Northern Ireland. He was last seen alive on the evening of 30 May 2019, and it is believed that he was murdered later that night at a flat in Comber.

The court has heard that he went to the flat believing that he was going to meet Gill’s fiance Lesley Ann, who he had a brief relationship with.

Pat’s body was recovered almost six weeks later, on 9 July, from a lake in the Ballygowan area.

Detective Inspector Jennifer Rea said: “When Pat was reported missing on 1 June 2019, police initially launched a missing person inquiry, which subsequently became a murder inquiry.

“Six weeks later and after an ongoing investigation and extensive searches, divers recovered Pat’s body from a flooded quarry, previously used as a fishing lake, in Ballygowan.

“A post mortem examination revealed the cause of death to be multiple rib fractures due to blunt force trauma.

“Pat was a father of four children. He was a husband, a son, a brother and an uncle. Those weeks of waiting, wondering and hoping were a torturous and prolonged nightmare for a loving family. And, of course, their sadness doesn’t end today. It’s over four years on now, and their heartache understandably remains.”

Detective Inspector Rea further said: “David Gill and Lesley Ann Dodds had initially denied any involvement in Pat’s disappearance and murder. The reality is that both played a part in luring Pat to the home of Lesley Ann Dodds. However, instead of meeting Ms Dodds as expected, David Gill was lying in wait to carry out this brutal attack.”

“Today, thanks to our dedicated team and working in partnership with our colleagues in the Public Prosecution Service, the defendants have been held accountable for their actions. Actions that were planned, cowardly and irreversible.

“My thoughts are first and foremost with Pat’s family and loved ones. And I’m keen to thank members of the public, particularly the local community in Comber and nearby areas, for their invaluable support to our investigation,” she added.

Back in 2019, Pat’s brother Harry asked the PSNI to issue the following statement on behalf of the family, who waited six weeks to find out what happened to him after he disappeared:

“The last six weeks have been devastating for his parents, brothers, wife and his beautiful four children. However, we are grateful to now have Pat home for our final goodbyes and burial.

“A massive thank you to everyone for their support and prayers, especially the public of Comber. As a family in mourning, we would now ask for privacy. We know that the PSNI are doing everything they can for us and Pat to get justice.”

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