Fears of witness intimidation in McDaid bail case

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The Independent Online

One of the men accused of killing Catholic youth worker Kevin McDaid in Northern Ireland was refused High Court bail amid concerns about possible interference with witnesses.

Christopher McDowell, 33, is charged with murdering the father of four in Coleraine, Co Londonderry just over two weeks ago.

Mr McDaid, 49, was beaten to death after a drunken mob of up to 30 people left a bar to go on a sectarian rampage through a |nationalist part of the town, the court heard yesterday.

McDowell, of Glebe Avenue, Coleraine, is among 10 suspects accused in connect with the attack on 24 May. He is also charged with the attempted murder of another local Catholic man, Damien Fleming, who was assaulted and seriously injured.

During his application for bail it was claimed that five witnesses in the case are under threat.

Two of them have received police warnings that their lives are in danger while another three were said to have received direct threats telling them to leave Coleraine.

McDowell’s lawyers disputed the murder charge against their client, pointing out that a heart attack appeared to have caused Mr McDaid’s death.

Mr Justice Treacy was also told the accused was prepared to live at an address in Portstewart under virtual house arrest conditions.

The judge, however, refused to grant bail, saying the seriousness of the charges, combined with the strength of the evidence and allegations of witness intimidation pointed to a risk of possible interference with the course of justice if the defendant was released.

This article is from The Belfast Telegraph