Shock after Bangor man (85) accused of murdering his sister

Police and forensic officers at the scene of a sudden death of a woman aged in her 80s in the Hawthorne Court area of Bangor on June 2nd 2024 (Photo by Kevin Scott)

 

A VERY ‘tightly-knit community’ in Bangor has been plunged into mourning and shock following the revelation that the man accused of murdering Patricia Aust is her brother.

Eighty one year-old Patsy, as she was ‘affectionately known’, was found dead in her home in the Hawthorne Court area on Sunday evening, shortly after 5.30pm. 

Her brother, Jim Moore, with an address at nearby Clandeboye Place, has appeared in court charged with the former teacher’s murder. 

The 85 year-old man was remanded in custody during a brief appearance at Ards Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday when his case was adjourned until June 26.

Detective chief inspector Neil McGuinness confirmed the PSNI’s Major Investigation Team was in charge of the case and said the police were appealing for anyone with information to get in touch with his officers.

Women’s Aid NI said Mrs Aust was the 20th woman to be killed in Northern Ireland since 2020 and has expressed condolences to the woman’s family.

Her former minister, Rev. Mark Johnston of St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church on the Clandeboye Road, told of his congregation’s ‘utter shock’ at the death of a ‘much-loved’ and active member of the local community.

Rev. Johnston said they were really ‘struggling to get our heads around what’s happened’, due to the fact the accused is Patsy’s own brother.

“One of the reasons why the shock is so profound in the community is because Patsy and Jim are both such deeply loved members of the community, not only Patsy, because she was so dearly loved, but also Jim as well.”

He revealed he was in court for Tuesday’s hearing into the case, ‘to provide support to Jim’, describing him as ‘vulnerable’.

“It was important for us to be there to support him and to make sure he knows we care very deeply for him,” he said.

“This is a very tight-knit community in the traditional sense,” he said, and one that rallied around Patsy when she lost her son, Garreth Aust, last September, aged just 47.

He added that she was ‘incredibly resilient’ in the face of the tragedy of losing her only child and despite such a great loss, remained ‘incredibly kind’.

“Despite losing Garreth she kept going, and her family, which was close-knit, was her priority.” 

The minister added that the late woman’s brother had been a great support to her following his great nephew’s death.

“In all the recent trauma, losing Garreth, they have been taking one day at a time to support each other, to make sure their immediate family was cared for and supported.” 

“They were very close,” he said of Patsy and Jim. “They always have been and anyone in the community knows it.” 

He confirmed his late parishioner had been married many years before, concluding she had been ‘a very private lady and not one for the limelight’.

Women’s Aid issued a statement offering its ‘sincerest condolences’ to Ms Aust’s family and friends.

“We can scarcely imagine the profound grief you are enduring with the loss of your loved one under these circumstances. Please know that our thoughts are with you all during this incredibly difficult time.

“Patricia is the 20th woman to be killed in Northern Ireland since 2020, and is the 18th woman murdered in her own home in the same period.”

The women’s charity encouraged anyone with information to contact police.