Court hears how drunken vow led police on a wild goose chase for ‘murder victim’ in Dungannon’s Black Lough

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A murder hoaxer, who sent police on a hunt for a woman’s body with a helicopter and dog search teams to a lake near Dungannon, was driven by a drunken vow made to his girlfriend.

The story behind how a major crime scene investigation unravelled at Dungannon’s Black Lough was revealed at Dungannon Magistrate’s Court today (Wednesday, May 10) as Petras Poderis pleaded guilty to wasting police time and making false reports to a constable.

The 52 year-old, from Braeside in the town, led police officers on a wild goose chase when he rang 999 on August 9, claiming that he had murdered a woman and dumped her body at Ballysaggart Lough.

The court heard that police had to employ an interpreter to fully interview Poderis, who was intoxicated at the time.

He told officers that he had gone to Tesco’s in Dungannon to buy a bottle of vodka and had met an unnamed woman there. He claimed they had taken a walk to the lough, and when she refused to have sex with him he had pushed her into the water. The woman had been unable to swim and as she drowned he ran away from the scene, the hoaxer told officers.

A police helicopter and dog search team were dispatched to the lough to search for the body, along with further specialist search teams, and a serious crime scene investigation was maintained at the lough until the next day.

Poderis, who has a criminal record, later told police that it was all a big joke and had been done to annoy his partner.

He had made a drunken vow to her that he would rather spend his life in prison rather than stay with her any longer.

The court heard how Poderis had been drinking a litre of vodka every day for ten days in the run up to the hoax claims, and that it had all been ‘a fantasy’.

When police interviewed his partner, she had laughed at the murder claim and said that Poderis had returned home on the day of the hoax with a bottle of vodka. They had then gotten drunk and fallen into an argument. Afterwards, Poderis told his partner that he had informed police that he had murdered her.

District Judge John Meehan said that obviously the defendant was at risk of going to jail. He ordered a pre-sentence report and adjourned the case till June 7.