Murder accused 'pistol-whipped' wife

Published Monday, 10 December 2012
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A retired RUC sergeant accused of murdering his wife once pointed his personal protection gun at her head, a jury has heard.

Murder accused 'pistol-whipped' wife
Joseph Haveron denies murdering his wife. (© Pacemaker)

The Belfast Crown Court jury of seven men and five women also heard allegations that during the same incident in 1981 while arguing over their new born son, 58-year-old Joseph Alfred Haveron also allegedly "pistol whipped" his wife Pauline.

Haveron, from Farm Lodge Grove in Greenisland, is on trial accused of murdering his 53-year-old wife Pauline on 18 April 2010.

Mrs Haveron, who was found lying face down in a pool of water at her Huntingdale Green, Ballyclare on 18 April 2010, had not been drowned but was strangled.

She was found by her lover Andrew Jones, who was a friend of their son Jonathan Haveron.

At the time of the killing retired police sergeant Haveron and his part-time nurse wife were in the process of an acrimonious divorce having separated in 2003. The jury have previously heard their eldest child Mr Haveron recount how he witnessed numerous bouts of domestic abuse over the years.

On Monday Mrs Haveron's elderly mother Mrs Iris Howarth gave evidence to the jury that she remembered an incident when Jonathan was around four months old and that later, her daughter told her a "gun had been put to her head".

Defence QC Gavan Duffy suggested to her the couple had been arguing over Mr Haveron taking their son to see his parents but that his wife did not want him to but Mrs Howarth said she was not aware of that.

Her son, Mrs Haveron's brother Philip Howarth also gave evidence, telling the jury that when he saw his sister that day, she was upset and crying and described to him how an argument had "escalated" before Mr Haveron took out his gun and pointed it at her.

He said he was so alarmed at what he had been told he went to get the police but left the room when his sister recounted her side to the officers.

She knelt before Joe and he took out his personal firearm and pointed it at her head.

Philip Howarth, Mrs Haveron’s brother

Mr Duffy suggested to him that in fact, the former sergeant had left his gun locked in a station locker at the time but Mr Howarth told him he "can't comment" on that.

One of the officers who spoke to Mrs Haveron that day, retired Sergeant Cecil Williamson told the court that Mrs Haveron "never mentioned" such a complaint.

He added however that he himself had witness his former colleague "being aggressive" towards his wife.

Mr Duffy also suggested to Mr Williamson that Haveron was in the habit of locking his gun in the station at the end of a shift and although the former officer said he did not know, he added that for his own part "I kept [his gun] at home and carried it with me to my station and I always had it with me".

Later a former neighbour of the Haveron's, Mrs Alexandra Hill gave evidence that on the day of the incident, Mrs Haveron had told her about it in a "quite distressed state".

"She told me that Joe had taken his gun and put it to her head and then had smacked her around the head," claimed Mrs Hill adding that she had felt the "bumps" on her neighbour's head.

Under cross examination from Mr Duffy, the lawyer said that essentially, Mrs Haveron had alleged that "he had in effect pistol whipped her" and Mrs Hill agreed that yes, she had, adding that to her mind, the incident had been reported to the police.

The trial continues.

© UTV News
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