Pensioner murder accused 'confessed'

Published Monday, 23 April 2012
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The man accused of murdering a Coleraine pensioner 11 years ago allegedly confessed his guilt to four different people.

Pensioner murder accused 'confessed'
James McCook, who is accused of murdering Norman Moffatt (© Pacemaker)

James Alexander McCook's ex-girlfriend also claimed she could identify him on CCTV footage of Norman Moffat being attacked, a judge was told.

Mr Moffatt, 73, was stabbed in the stomach as he walked home from buying a newspaper on Railway Road in January 2001 and died of his injuries two months later.

McCook, who is originally from Northern Ireland but with an address at Stonemill Terrace, Lancashire Hill in Stockport, was arrested in Cheshire earlier this month and taken to Antrim for questioning.

Prosecution barrister Robert Blackburn said police have acquired new information over the last two years.

The High Court heard one man said 42-year-old McCook had told him in 2002 that he committed a stabbing murder in Coleraine.

While one of McCook's former partners told police he had a number of knives, including one he kept down his sock, according to the prosecution.

The woman, who was said to have lived with McCook for more than four years, allegedly made a similar confession to her.

She viewed the CCTV footage and claimed to know it was him because of his walk.

Mr Blackburn said: "She said she could pick him out anywhere. She said she was 100% sure it was Mr McCook on the video."

Two other witnesses, a man and woman, have alleged that the accused admitted the killing to them.

"The various people I have mentioned don't know one another. They approached police independently," Mr Blackburn added.

"The strength of the case now... is the cumulative effect of the evidence that has come to light."

But Conn O'Neill for the defence said his client denied the charge and the witnesses included "nefarious individuals".

One of the men making allegations against McCook was later jailed for arson, the court heard.

Mr O'Neill added: "I'm a little bit perplexed whether it's old or new evidence."

McCook was refused bail.

© UTV News
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