Man accused of murdering Chloe Mitchell (21) last year in Ballymena pleads not guilty

Brandon John Rainey (27) also pleaded not guilty to attempting to prevent lawful and decent burial of Ms Mitchell in June, 2023

A Co Antrim man has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Chloe Mitchell almost a year ago in Ballymena, Co Antrim.

Brandon John Rainey appeared via video-link on Friday from Maghaberry Prison dressed in a grey sweat top and grey tracksuit bottoms. Rainey (27), formerly of James Street, replied “not guilty” when the first count of murdering Ms Mitchell (21), aggravated by domestic abuse, was put to him.

Appearing before Justice O’Hara, he further pleaded not guilty to attempting to prevent the lawful and decent burial of her body on the same date, June 3rd, 2023.

Mr Rainey’s defence counsel, Neil Connor, said he had instructed a consultant psychiatrist to assess the state of mind of the defendant at the time of Ms Mitchell’s death.


“The primary focus is the state of mind of the defendant at the material time,” he said.

Mr Connor said there had been “extreme difficulty” in finding an expert without any conflict of interest in the jurisdiction as the accused has previous involvement with Knockbracken Healthcare Clinic. “A number of consultant psychiatrists in this jurisdiction have had involvement with that institution. He has been in mental health hospitals for some considerable time,” he said.

Mr Rainey was discharged from Knockbracken a short time before his alleged involvement in Ms Mitchell’s death.

“For that reason we thought it best to seek the services of an expert from outside this small jurisdiction,” Mr Connor said.

Asked by Mr Justice O’Hara was the defendant not denying the allegations, he responded: “I can’t state that my lord. My wording that I have chosen has been carefully chosen.”

Mr Justice O’Hara said he would review the case again on September 20th, 2024. The judge added: “I am sure for Ms Mitchell’s family and friends this seems terribly slow and protracted but this is what happens. We will move things along as quickly as possible as we can.”

Following the hearing, Ms Mitchell’s friends and family gathered outside the court building holding up a banner and a flag calling for “justice for Chloe”.