A couple from Clogher have been returned for trial, accused of murdering Pat Ward just over a year ago.

Mr. Ward’s body was found in a Clogher alleyway, having died in what has been described by police as a brutal, frenzied attack.

The married father of four children, all aged under 11, was a member of the Travelling Community, and a champion boxer. Originally from Sligo, it is understood he had only recently moved to the Clogher area before his death.

Niall Cox (24) and his partner Karen Marie McDonald (34) both with an address of McCrea Park are jointly charged with murdering Mr Ward on February 9, 2019, and have been remanded in custody ever since.

They appeared together in the dock of Dungannon Magistrates Court, each flanked by prison staff and kept apart from each other. It’s was the first time they appeared in person since first being charged last year.

A lawyer appearing for the Public Prosecution Service said there is a case to answer, which was agreed by District Judge Michael Ranaghan.

Cox and McDonald made no reply in answer to the charge and declined to call witnesses or give evidence on their own behalf at this stage in proceedings.

Judge Ranaghan remanded the pair in continuing custody to appear for arraignment at Laganside Crown Court, Belfast next month.

For the first time since the case began, none of Mr Ward’s family were in attendance for the hearing. His widow and father arrived shortly before 10.30am, but proceedings had already concluded.

Additional police were in attendance in court precincts, but left immediately after the hearing.