Ex-soldier jailed for life for murdering father’s partner

Woman died from drowning and also sustained broken bone in her throat, court told

The Antrim Crown Court has jailed a 38-year-old man for life for the murder of a 61-year-old woman

The Antrim Crown Court has jailed a 38-year-old man for life for the murder of a 61-year-old woman


A 38-year-old former soldier was jailed for life on Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to the murder of his father’s 61-year-old partner, pensioner Pauline Carmichael.

Mr Justice Treacy told Alan Norman Foster that in light of his guilty plea he would “pronounce” the only sentence permitted by law, life imprisonment for the murder of the mum of six on February 25 last year.

The Antrim Crown Court judge, sitting in Belfast’s Laganside courthouse, however, adjourned until next month, the tariff hearing to determine the minimum term Foster must serve, before he may be considered for release.

Although a jury of six men and six women were on Monday sworn in to potentially hear the case, they were not “put in charge”, allowing defence barrister John McCrudden QC to return to court on Wednesday, with instructions from Foster to be re-arraigned, with the murder charge put to him again.

Multiple rib fractures

Just yards behind him in the public gallery, two of Ms Carmichael’s daughters sat and wept, as they comforted one another.

Prosecution QC Ciaran Murphy gave no details surrounding the death of the grandmother to 16, but earlier court proceedings heard that her pyjama-clad body was found in a river at Antrim’s Lough Shore Park, just a mile from her Hillside flat she had also shared with Foster and his dad, David.

Her body was initially discovered by Belfast Telegraph photographer Kevin Scott in the park at the mouth of the Six Mile Water river at the entrance to Lough Neagh.

A postmortem examination revealed that the 5ft 4in, lightly-built woman, originally from Ballyclare, died as a result of drowning and that she had also sustained a broken bone in her throat as well as multiple rib fractures.

Police told Ballymena Magistrates Court that Foster was allegedly seen by passing motorists carrying the body of Ms Carmichael and “throwing an object” over a bridge.