Pair sentenced over 'disturbing' murder of Co. Antrim man whose body was dumped in reservoir

Pair sentenced over 'disturbing' murder of Co. Antrim man whose body was dumped in reservoir

A MURDERER who tried to dispose of his victim's body by weighing it down in a Co. Antrim reservoir has been told he must serve at least 21 years in prison.

Michael Campbell, 34, was previously handed a life sentence after admitting to the murder of 54-year-old Roy Reynolds at a flat in Rathcoole in March 2022.

Mr Reynolds, known to his loved ones as Fobby, sustained more than 100 injuries in the 'ferociously violent and senseless' attack.

Campbell was also sentenced for attempting to prevent the lawful and decent burial of Mr Reynolds.

Robert Mervyn Fulton, 70, who helped Campbell dispose of Mr Reynolds' body, was sentenced to two years and four months, having previously pleaded guilty to assisting an offender.

"There's no comprehending, and certainly no justification for, this tragic event," said Detective Inspector Sean Armstrong of the PSNI.

"Roy, who was aged 54, had his life taken in a horrific attack — a murder made even more disturbing by the callous way in which the two subsequently disposed of his body.

"This was the most brutal and senseless loss of a life."

Beaten and stabbed

Police said Mr Reynolds was out walking in Rathcoole on the evening of Sunday, March 27, 2022 and stopped to speak with Campbell before being invited into the latter's home.

At some point between Sunday evening and Monday morning, Mr Reynolds was fatally beaten and stabbed at the property, sustaining more than 100 injuries.

Campbell then enlisted the help of Fulton, with the pair placing Mr Reynolds' body into Fulton's car and transporting it to North Woodburn Reservoir near Carrickfergus.

Campbell attached a breeze block to the body before placing it in the reservoir in an attempt to conceal it, after which the pair left the scene.

However, police were on the lookout for Fulton's vehicle after a witness reported seeing a body being dragged from Campbell's property and placed in the boot of a car.

"Police subsequently located and stopped the car in the Rathcoole area, where it was being driven by its owner Mervyn Fulton, with Michael Campbell as a passenger," said DI Armstrong.

"The pair were heading back from the direction of the reservoir.

"Officers observed blood stains on the back bumper, inside the boot, and on Campbell's hands and clothing."

Later that morning, following a call from a member of the public, police found the partially submerged and semi-naked body of Mr Reynolds in the reservoir.

Campbell pleaded not guilty at an arraignment hearing in April 2023 but in December last year, he admitted murdering Mr Reynolds and attempting to prevent a lawful and decent burial.

'Horrific catalogue of injuries'

Mairead Lavery, PPS Senior Public Prosecutor, said Campbell not only murdered Mr Reynolds but tried to prevent his victim's family from laying him to rest.

"Campbell subjected Mr Reynolds to a ferociously violent and senseless attack, inflicting a horrific catalogue of more than 100 individual injuries," she said.

"After the murder he called Fulton who agreed to drive him to the reservoir where Campbell attempted to conceal Mr Reynolds' body by attaching his remains to a cement block and putting his body in the water.

"Had his remains not been discovered hours later by a member of the public, these callous actions could have robbed his family of a burial."

Following the sentencing, Mr Reynolds' brother-in-law Eric McCully issued a statement on behalf of the family.

"Fobby was more than a name; he was a cherished brother, father, and grandfather," he said.

"His twin sister, Maggie, shares our grief, as do his brother Phillip and sisters Samantha, Joanne and Donna.

"Roy's legacy lives on through his daughters, Natasha and Lisa, and his three precious grandchildren: Charlie, Freya, and Ayda."