Published Tuesday, 21 December 2010
Police claimed there was a scientific basis for charging of Robert Rodgers, 57, with the murder of Eileen Doherty.
The accused, of Tierney Gardens, Belfast, was arrested and charged after the murder case was reopened following a review by the Historical Enquiries Team (HET), which identified new evidential opportunities.
As he appeared before the city's Magistrates Court a detective constable said he could connect him with the killing.
The 19-year-old stitcher was shot dead after the taxi she was taking home to west Belfast was hijacked by gunmen.
On 30 September 1973, Ms Doherty called into the Atlas Taxis depot on the Ormeau Road near the city centre at around 10.45pm to get a lift to her home in Andersonstown.
In the depot, she agreed to share a car with two men who said they were going to nearby Finaghy.
The men, who were in their 20s and appeared to be drunk, sat in the back seat while Ms Doherty sat in the front.
A short time into the journey they produced a gun and ordered the driver to stop the blue Chrysler car.
Ms Doherty and the driver managed to get out and run away, but they got trapped by a wire fence near the River Lagan.
While the taxi driver escaped unhurt, the men caught up with Ms Doherty at the Annadale Embankment and one of them shot her three times in the head and body.
She was taken to hospital but died a short time later.
The taxi was found the following morning a mile and a half away in Fountainville Avenue at the bottom of the Lisburn Road.
Questioned by defence lawyer John Finucane, the officer disclosed that palm prints formed part of the evidential case.
He said prints taken from the accused after his arrest were compared with those taken from the crime scene.
Mr Finucane told the court Rodgers strenuously denied the murder charge.
"It will be the defendant's intention to lodge an abuse [of process] application at a later date," the solicitor said.
District Judge Fiona Bagnall said there was sufficient information to connect Rodgers with the alleged offence.
After being told the police file should be ready in "a relatively short period" she remanded the accused on continuing bail.
He will appear again before the court in February.