16/11/2012

Bertie Acheson Killing: Pregnant Woman On Bail

A pregnant mother of one has been released on bail after being charged with manslaughter over the death of Coleraine pensioner Bertie Acheson.

Jennifer Toland, 23, appeared at Ballymena Magistrates' Court.

72-year-old Mr Acheson died after confronting an intruder at his home in Glenmore Gardens in Coleraine on 30 April this year.

A PSNI detective constable has told the court she could connect Toland to the charges.

Ms Toland has been interviewed 18 times over the past three days.

She has been unable to provide an alibi for the night of April 30, but told police she was at home with her 16-month-old child.

The accused was granted bail after District Judge Des Perry said it would be inappropriate for a woman in the middle stages of pregnancy to be in custody.

The incident began as Mr Acheson was asleep with his wife Sheila on 30 April and was awoken by the sound of breaking glass.

When Mr Acheson got up to investigate, he went into the kitchen and was confronted by an intruder, who demanded money. An altercation and struggle resulted in Mr Acheson falling to the floor.

He suffered a heart attack, which detectives say was brought about by stress.

The intruder went into the couple’s bedroom and threatened Mrs Acheson, who is 70 years of age and suffers from arthritis.

The thief stole her purse and escaped with £375.

Ms Toland is reported to have shown no emotion as the charges were read before her.

(IT)

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