One of two people currently standing trial for murder called his ex-girlfriend and told her that he would be going to jail for a “very, very long time” because he had killed a man, a court has been told.
Giving evidence at Belfast Crown Court on Wednesday, the ex-partner of murder accused Stephen Thomas Hughes claimed he had called her from Lurgan police station and said he has killed “wee Owen”.
Hughes (29) and Shaunean Boyle (25) have been jointly charged with murdering Lurgan man Owen Creaney.
He was beaten in the hallway of Hughes’s home at Moyraferty Court in Lurgan in July 2014.
Both accused have denied the murder, and have blamed each other for the fatal attack.
The trial has already heard that following a beating under the stairs of the house, Mr Creaney was then washed and placed on a sofa in an upstairs bedroom of the property.
He remained there for around 48 hours.
After he died from head and chest injuries, he was dumped into a green recycling bin at the rear of the property.
Hughes’ former partner and mother of his son broke down in tears several times whilst giving evidence.
She said that a few days prior to Mr Creaney’s remains being found in the bin, she met with Hughes and noticed blood on his trainers.
She told the court Hughes was “OCD” about keeping his trainers clean.
When she asked about the bloodstains on his shoes, she was told to mind her own business.
On Saturday July 5 – the day the remains were discovered – she said Hughes phoned her from the police station, and that during the conversation Hughes asked her if his house had been boarded up.
She said Hughes then told her he had killed “wee Owen” and that he used the term “I” instead of “we” when he talked about the killing.
The witness said he also spoke about emptying his green recycling bin as he had missed the binmen.
She said: “I asked him if it has anything to do with the blood on his shoes, and he said yes.”
Also giving evidence during the third day of the trial was a neighbour of Hughes, who said she saw a man lying in an upstairs room of Hughes’s house and that the room “smelled like poo”.
The mother-of-two refused to look at Hughes and Boyle as she gave evidence, telling the court: “I don’t want to see them ones.”
She said that on Friday July 4, her and her partner and children were invited over to Hughes’s house.
Also present were Boyle and her infant son.
The neighbour said they had a few drinks and sat planning a picnic for the following day “just like everything was normal”.
She said she then went upstairs to use the toilet, where she heard a noise “like snoring” coming from one of the rooms.
She then said as she left the bathroom, the bedroom door was open and she saw Boyle on her knees beside a man on a bed.
The witness said she noticed a syringe in Boyle’s hand and when she asked who the man was, Boyle just looked at her and didn’t answer.
She said the smell was “just not normal”.
When she went back downstairs and asked Hughes who the man upstairs was, she said Hughes told her it was “just wee Owen”.
She said Hughes also told her Owen had been drinking with them, had consumed a big bottle of vodka and two bottles of Buckfast, and had wet himself which is why he had been washed and changed.
Hughes also told his neighbour Boyle had been using the syringe to give Owen water.
Both Hughes – whose address was given as HMP Maghaberry – and Boyle, from Edenderry Park in Banbridge, were remanded back into custody.