A County Tyrone chef on trial accused of killing his ex-fiance is not a “murderous cuckold” his lawyer has said.
Johnny Miller, 48, from Redford Park, Dungannon, denies murdering Charlotte Murray, who went missing in 2012.
His defence barrister made his closing submissions at Dungannon Crown Court at the end of a four-week trial.
Orlando Pownall QC told the jury they could not be sure beyond reasonable doubt that Ms Murray is dead.
Originally from Omagh, Ms Murray was last seen seven years ago when she was aged 34.
Mr Millar is accused of murdering her between 31 October and 2 November 2012.
Her body has never been found.
The lawyer told the jury: “This is one of those cases where you simply cannot avoid turning back in your mind’s eye and repeating a question – ‘I wonder where she is?'”
He asked them if she was to reappear some years in the future would they say: “I simply don’t believe it, it must be an imposter?”
Charlotte’s identical twin sister Denise left the courtroom visibly upset as the lawyer insisted “you cannot be sure that Charlotte Murray is dead”.
Mr Pownall told the jury “whatever you conclude about Charlotte Murray’s whereabouts, that man, Mr Miller, is not responsible for her death and we invite you to acquit him”.
Many of the strands of circumstantial evidence that made up the prosecution case he argued had been “torn to shreds”.
He said Charlotte was “deeply, profoundly dissatisfied with her life” and had wanted to leave Mr Miller and the home they shared at Roxborough Heights in Moy.
The lawyer claimed others could have been involved in her disappearance.
He asked why blood that was visible “for all to see” in the bathroom had not been cleaned in the seven months Mr Miller had lived alone after Charlotte’s “alleged involuntary disappearance”.
“The proper inference”, he told the jury, “is he had nothing to fear as he was not responsible for her death”.
He said there was “no basis” to the prosecution claim that Mr Miller killed Charlotte Murray because he was “incensed” at videos she sent him of her having sex with his friend.
“The relationship was at an end, Charlotte wanted out, and so did he”, he said.
If Mr Miller was “a murderous cuckold” the lawyer said he did nothing about his suspicions that she had a fling with the friend two weeks earlier.
He asked why Charlotte had sent him those images.
“To taunt him, to anger him, to stimulate him, who knows but it was an odd thing to do.
“Was this the last goodbye? Here I am. I’m off.”
The lawyer said Mr Miller was a man of good character who “shies away from confrontation” and was “not someone who flares up”.
He told the jury they had witnessed his manner during four days of what was at times a “brutal” cross-examination.
He said the prosecution may have “hoped somehow that someone would get the rise out of Mr Miller but it never happened because it’s not his personality”.
He said Mr Miller had been taken to task by the prosecution over inconsistencies about various dates which they had claimed demonstrated he was “misleading, lying, having laid a trail”.
The defence lawyer described this as “nit picking” and Mr Miller had not tried to “brazen it out” and was prepared to accept and admit he made mistakes.
“Does that suggest he’s a murderer?” Mr Pownall asked.
He said if the jury was sure Charlotte Murray was dead, they would then have to ask themselves when did she die, how did she die, and if it was at the hands of Mr Miller.
The defence case was that Mr Miller was “not involved in the slightest”.
The jury will return to court on Monday when they will be given final directions by the judge before being asked to retire to consider their verdict.