A 31-year-old man appeared before Belfast Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday charged with the murder of 28-year-old Hollie Thomson.

Christopher Morelli from Willowvale Avenue was charged with the offence. Ms Thomson’s body was discovered in a property in the Greenan area of Shaws Road on Sunday morning.

Detective Inspector Griffin told the court that Morelli was the partner of the deceased.

The Detective Inspector told the court that her objection to bail is that there is a risk of flight. The accused is facing a very serious offence which carries a very long sentence, and he has no family ties to this jurisdiction, she told the court.

“He is from West Belfast and he and his family seem to be estranged,” DI Griffin went on. “He is living with his 85-year-old grandmother and we do not believe she would have control over his behaviour at this time. 

“We have a fear that he will commit further offences as he does have drug issues. We are concerned that he would interfere with the course of justice.”

The DI said CCTV was still being collected in the area.

“We also have Article 2 issues. He has already immediately after the offence harmed himself quite substantially for which he had to be hospitalised for over twenty-four hours. He caused himself injuries to both his neck and his arm and we believe he has also taken a drug overdose and in one of the premises we have searched linked to him last night we have found evidence that he has prepared a possible noose.

“There is also under Article 2 (an) issue in relation to community.  He had previous issues to the community due to his drug addiction and now with this further charge there may be further risk to him."

She said he was the partner of the deceased. She said Hollie had died of suffocation and fracture of a cartilage to her neck.

“He has denied throughout that he has not committed this offence.”

She added: “This became a murder investigation once the post-mortem had been completed and the injuries were found in her neck and other parts of her body.”

The court heard that it was a possible smothering. 

The Detective Inspector said: “I have spoken to the pathologist, Dr Ingrim to clarify that and he has said it is only possible suffocation at this stage as he has not received toxicology but certainly the injury has been caused by a third party.”

The defence for the defendant stated that his client had a clear record and that his client had no properties outside of the jurisdiction and stated that bail should be granted with certain conditions.

Bail was denied by Judge McGarrity and Christopher Morelli will appear in court again on 12th of October.