One Doherty brother cleared in Natalia trial

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A Luton pensioner who lived in the house where the body of missing mum Natalia Doherty lay under builder’s rubble for 12 years has been cleared of all the charges he faced.

The jury at his trial were directed by the Judge to find Daniel Doherty not guilty of the five charges.

Judge Michael Kay QC said that having heard the prosecution case against him he had concluded that there was no case to answer.

Daniel Doherty, 67, of Icknield Way, Luton was formally cleared of two charges of perverting the course of justice, two charges of obstructing a coroner by aiding and abetting the concealment of a body and by lying to police, and one charge of preventing the lawful burial of Natalia Wilkanowska.

His older brother Joseph Doherty, 73, from Old Greenock Road, Port Glasgow, Scotland remains on trial at Luton Crown Court. He denies one charge of perverting the course of justice, one of obstructing the coroner by giving a false account of her death and one charge of preventing her lawful burial.

But the jury were told on Thursday that he will not be giving evidence to the court.

It means the trial will move into its closing stages of final speeches on Friday.

Natalia Wilkanowska, 50, disappeared in 2003 after visiting her ex-husband Gerald Doherty in Luton from her home Eastbourne.

Her children believed she was missing but, after the death of another relative, Gerald’s older brother Joseph revealed to family members that Gerald had killed her during an argument and allegedly chopped up her body.

But Luton crown court was told that Natalia had not been chopped up, her body was left under rubble in the garden in Icknield Way, Luton, where Daniel lived and was not discovered until December 2015.

Her remains had never been buried. She had suffered trauma to the skull, according to a pathologist.

Prosecutor Neil King said Gerald Doherty, who hanged himself in a flat in Robert Street, Port Glasgow in July 2003 on the couple’s wedding anniversary, was responsible for the untimely death of Natalia.

He said years later Joseph Doherty told family members that Gerald Doherty had confessed to him that he had killed Natalia and chopped her up in circumstances that she would never be found.

“Following the remarks, police became involved in January 2014 and took statements. Joseph Doherty repeated the same tale that Gerald had killed his wife and chopped her up. Daniel said he knew nothing about it,” said Mr. King.

Daniel Doherty told the police he did not know the remains were in his garden and did not have exclusive access to the property. He said he had no idea his brother was responsible for the death and that he did not know it had been placed at his address.

Joseph Doherty told the police he did not know the body was in Daniel’s garden and that he was honestly reporting what Gerald had told him years before.

The trial against Joseph Doherty continues.