Murdered Mills punched 'up to 14 times'

Published Wednesday, 31 October 2012
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A former Irish League footballer was punched up to 14 times in an attack which led to his death, the High Court has heard.

Murdered Mills punched 'up to 14 times'
Former Irish League player David Mills, pictured. (© Pacemaker)

Prosecutors also said David Mills had been in a feud with John Foster, the man charged with his murder.

Mr Mills, 47, died in hospital from injuries inflicted during a night out in Ballynahinch, Co Down on 29 September.

Foster, a 30-year-old unemployed bricklayer from Carrigvale, Dundrum, claimed he acted in self-defence.

Despite being told of fears for his safety and alleged threats posted on Facebook, a judge granted him temporary bail to see his new-born son.

Mr Mills, a keen sportsman, had been out with a cricket club when the confrontation occurred, according to the prosecution.

It was alleged that Foster used foul language towards him as he went to get a Chinese takeaway.

Kate McKay, prosecuting, said Mr Mills then walked after him and some sort of fight occurred.

She claimed: "This applicant punched the deceased and he fell to the ground.

"It would appear there were a number of punches, namely 14 punches, while Mr Mills lay on the ground.

"At one stage he was seen to lift the deceased up and throw him back down again."

CCTV cameras captured the incident, with operators reporting it to the PSNI.

Police officers discovered Mr Mills lying unconscious and covered in blood.

He was given emergency first aid and taken to hospital, but died the following morning.

Following his arrest, Foster urged police to check the CCTV footage, claiming he was jumped first and then acted in self-defence, the court heard.

Mrs McKay confirmed that he and the victim were known to each other.

"It appears there was some kind of feud the police were aware of, but they don't really know the details," the barrister added.

She said police had concerns for Foster's safety if he was granted overnight bail, due to feelings in the community.

Comments about him posted on Facebook could be interpreted as threats, the court was told.

Defence counsel Noel Dillon said Foster claims Mr Mills had behaved threateningly towards him.

He contended that the victim approached his client before the two men started to fight and roll around on the ground.

"This is not a case of stamping or kicking or any weapon used," Mr Dillon stressed.

He pointed out that a jury will have to decide on the self-defence claims.

Granting compassionate bail, Mr Justice Maguire emphasised that he formed no view on guilt or innocence.

He ruled that Foster could be released for a period of hours, with an alcohol ban imposed during his time outside custody.

© UTV News
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