Man in court over officer's murder

Published Monday, 15 October 2012
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A man arrested in Londonderry has given detailed accounts of a number of terrorist incidents - including the IRA murder of a young RUC officer almost 20 years ago, a detective has told a court.

Man in court over officer's murder
Michael Ferguson was shot dead in Derry in 1993. (© Pacemaker)

Defence lawyers say the defendant, 39-year-old Christopher O'Kane, has a history of serious mental health problems.

O'Kane is accused of assisting those involved in murdering Constable Michael Ferguson in January 1993.

Constable Ferguson, a 21-year-old Catholic from Omagh, was shot dead in Shipquay Street in Derry.

Members of the Ferguson family were in court as O'Kane was brought to the dock.

He is also accused of attempting to murder a soldier and two military police officers in separate attacks at Army bases in Fort George and Ebrington.

A final charge alleges he was a member of the Provisional IRA between 1991 and 1996.

He refused to stand when the charges were read and was described in court as a vulnerable individual with considerable mental health problems.

O'Kane was arrested last Thursday, just hours after he had been discharged from Gransha mental health hospital.

The court was told that he had been a patient at the facility 15 times in the last four years.

In 2008, O'Kane made a series of admissions to police - but then retracted his statements.

During his most recent stay in hospital the police were constantly in contact with him.

His lawyer said when Mr O'Kane was arrested last week a doctor, who examined him inside a police station, believed he was not fit to be interviewed.

A detective inspector, however, said he was examined later by a specialist who deemed him well enough to be questioned.

The detective said Christopher O'Kane had given very detailed accounts of the murder of Michael Ferguson and a number of other terrorist incidents including mortar bomb attacks and punishment beatings.

The detective said he had no doubts about O'Kane's credibility in relation to his involvement in these incidents.

The court was told that whilst he had made a new series of admissions, Mr O'Kane had not given the names of other person involved in these incidents.

He was remanded in custody.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Boru in Ireland wrote (832 days ago):
Where is 'Catholicland' - is it somewhere near Greenland or Iceland? What's the 'Nationality' of people from England - is it 'Protestant' or 'Jewish' or 'Muslim'?: Will the overall charade of 'identifying' people through the News Media in N.Ireland by their religion (thus, pretending the centuries-old conflict has nothing to do with race)ever end?:: If, and when, it's done - and accepted, finally - might there be some kind of...'peace'?
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