Charges dropped over McDaid killing

Charges dropped over McDaid killing

A Co Antrim man who was due to stand trial on Wednesday on charges arising from the death of Catholic community worker Kevin McDaid has had manslaughter and attempted murder charges dropped.

Mr McDaid, 49, collapsed and died after a group of loyalists launched a violent attack near his Somerset Drive home in the Heights area of Coleraine in May 2009.John McGrath, 54 and of Knock Road, Ballymoney initially faced a string of charges, including manslaughter and attempted murder.McGrath was then rearraigned at Belfast Crown Court on a number of offences and pleaded guilty to lesser charges.He pleaded guilty as a secondary party to causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Damien Fleming on 24 May, 2009.The defendant also admitted assaulting Mr McDaid causing him actual bodily harm on the same date as a secondary part and causing affray.Prosecution counsel Ciaran Murphy QC asked that the remaining charges of manslaughter and attempted murder against McGrath "be left on the books in the usual terms''.Trial judge Mr Justice Weatherup released McGrath on continuing bail pending the preparation of a pre-sentence report before passing sentence.Last week, seven other defendants pleaded guilty to lesser charges linked to events that occurred in the Heights area of Coleraine following a football match between Rangers and Celtic five years ago.They also had the manslaughter and attempted murder charges dropped.It means two men - David James John Cochrane, 52 and of Windyhill Park, and Philip Kane, 39 and of Hill Road, both Coleraine - are still accused of Mr McDaid's manslaughter and the attempted murder of Mr Fleming.They deny all the charges against them.Mr Murphy QC asked Mr Justice Weatherup to adjourn the start of their trial until Thursday morning.The prosecutor said there were 165 witnesses in the case and discussions were needed to take place with defence legal teams to see if "their evidence can be agreed or not required''."I would ask your lordship to put this case in for tomorrow morning so we can embark on this exercise today and overnight,''added Mr Murphy QC.Mr Justice Weatherup adjourned the start of the trial until 10.30am on Thursday morning.


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