pair face acheson murder charges

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AN Antrim man and his estranged wife will face charges of murder relating to the death of a Coleraine pensioner during a break-in at his home, a court has heard.

Paul James Manolito Toland (40), and Jennifer Toland (24), whose current bail addresses are not allowed to be reported, had initially been accused of the manslaughter of Bertie Acheson (72), who died from a heart attack during the incident at his Glenmore Gardens home at Mountsandelon April 30, 2012.

However, when their case appeared on the court list at Ballymena Magistrates Court last week, both defendants now face charges of murdering Mr Acheson and also robbing his 70-year-old disabled wife Sheila of a purse containing approximately £335.

Mrs Acheson raised the alarm but by the time ambulance personnel and police arrived her husband was dead.

The case had been listed for a preliminary enquiry (PE) - the formal process of transferring a case from Magistrates Court to Crown Court - but a Public Prosecution Service lawyer said the PE is now scheduled to take place on February 13.

The PPS representative said that due to the “weighty” paperwork relating to the case, defence counsel for the accused had asked for additional time “to read the papers”.