Woman charged with murder of pensioner Daniel Guyler in Derry secures bail by 'skin of her teeth'

A woman charged with the murder of a pensioner in Derry has secured release from custody "by the skin of her teeth", a High Court judge ruled today.

Friday, 16th July 2021, 5:25 pm
Updated Friday, 16th July 2021, 5:28 pm
Murder accused secures bail at the High Court.
Murder accused secures bail at the High Court.

Granting bail to Rhona Gracey once more, Mr Justice Scoffield warned that she was on a final chance.

Gracey, 34, is accused of killing 75-year-old Daniel Guyler, who was found with serious injuries three years ago and died nearly 10 months later.

A second woman, 45-year-old Sharon Harland, is also charged with his murder.

Mr Guyler was discovered with serious injuries in the Termon Street area of Derry on July 23, 2018.

The pensioner never regained consciousness, dying in hospital on May 1, 2019.

Gracey, of Chobham Street in Belfast, and Harland, from Baltimore House in Derry, were charged following an investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death.

Previous courts heard Mr Guyler sustained a head injury, with medical examinations concluding that he had either fallen repeatedly from a height or been attacked.

The victim was also robbed of his wallet containing £400, according to the prosecution.

Although no-one saw any assault, witnesses claimed the two defendants were with him shortly before the incident.

At the time both women were said to have lived in hostel accommodation and drank in the area of the alleged attack.

Blood from the deceased was allegedly found on Gracey's clothing and Harland's shoes.

During police interviews the defendants either made no comment or said they could not remember the incident.

Gracey had been returned to custody last month for an alleged assault on a police officer carrying out bail checks.

Prosecution counsel Iryna Kennedy claimed she became aggressive and kicked out when the constable attended the property.

Opposing her re-release, the barrister contended: "She has a grave propensity to violence."

Defence lawyer Tom McCreanor argued that his client's personal circumstances have improved in the last three years.

"She was not in the best of company in 2018," he told the court.

Following submissions Mr Justice Scoffield decided: "I will give her one further opportunity to prove herself."

Ordering Gracey to abide by a curfew and alcohol ban, the judge told her: "I cannot emphasise enough that the application has been successful by the skin of your teeth.

"If there's any established breach of bail you can expect to find yourself back in prison."