Murder accused from town

A MAN charged with murdering his wife in Portadown is originally from Lurgan and is the brother of a man convicted in connection with the 1991 mobile shop killings at Drumbeg.

Chris Harper, 45, from The Manor, Portadown, remained silent throughout Monday's brief hearing, as the charge was read out at Craigavon Magistrates Court. It's understood he was originally from the Glenavon Lane area of Mourneview.

The body of his 40-year-old wife – Suzanne Harper – a mother of three, was discovered at their Portadown home at around noon on Friday.

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Harper, a press assistant, stared straight ahead, glancing only briefly at a number of tearful family members who were present in the court.

A defence solicitor said there would be no application for bail, and no plea was entered.

During the hearing a police inspector told the court that he could connect the accused to the murder charge.

Harper was remanded in custody to appear again before the court on September 17, via videolink.

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One female family member shouted, “I love you son” as the accused, dressed in a suit and pink shirt, was led away from the court.

Neighbours had described Mrs Harper as a quiet woman and a good neighbour.

She worked as a supervisor in the production end of pharmaceutical company Galen in Portadown.

Results of a post-mortem examination carried out on Saturday to determine the exact cause of death have not been released.

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On Friday, police cordoned off the crime scene in the development of semi-detached houses, which is adjacent to Portadown Football Club’s Shamrock Park stadium.

Three hours after the body of Mrs Harper was discovered, police confirmed that the death was suspicious and that a man had been arrested.

It is understood the family has been living at the house for around 10 years.

According to 'MAIL' sources the accused's brother, Tom Harper, was convicted of the murders of Eileen Duffy (19), Katrina Rennie (16) and Brian Frizzell (29).

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They were shot dead in a mobile shop in Craigavon on March 28, 1991.

In 1992 Tom Harper was charged with the murders. He was not the gunman but the driver of the van. He was sentenced to life in prison for his part in the killings.

He was also charged with several attempted murders in seperate incidents, blackmailing a local factory manager and with the theft of a substantial amount of money.