Witness 'threatened' in McDaid case

Published Friday, 06 August 2010
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A witness in the Kevin McDaid murder investigation was threatened and told: "I hope he's eating maggots," the High Court heard on Friday.

The woman was also allegedly warned to drop the charges or she would be shot, prosecutors said.

Details emerged as one of two men accused of the menaces was granted bail but banned from Coleraine, where the suspected sectarian mob killing occurred.

John Freeman, of Tullans Park in the town, is charged with threats to kill and intimidation of a witness.

The court heard the alleged incident at a DHSS centre in Coleraine on 29 June related to the murder of Mr McDaid, a Catholic father-of-four, a year earlier.

The 49-year-old community worker was beaten to death during an attack in the Heights area of the town in May 2009.

More than a dozen suspects have been charged in connection with the killing.

Freeman and a co-accused are alleged to have approached the witness and her mother outside the offices and made comments about the victim.

Crown counsel Fiona O'Kane claimed one of the remarks was: "I hope he's eating and spitting out maggots."

Freeman issued the threat if the charges were not dropped, while both men allegedly used sectarian slurs against the women.

According to the prosecution one of the suspects then said: "You will be where Kevin is before the Twelfth".

During police interviews Freeman accepted there had been a verbal exchange but denied saying anything threatening or intimidating, the court heard.

Charles McCreanor, defending, said the alleged remarks made during an accidental encounter were disputed.

He claimed the altercation was started by the women, with one of them making mocking comments about a man charged in connection with the murder.

Mr McCreanor also argued that his client had no motive to issue threats as he is not among those accused over the killing.

Freeman was granted bail to live with his uncle at an address in Belfast.

Lord Justice Girvan prohibited him from entering Coleraine, and from having any contact with either his co-accused or any witnesses in the investigation.

He was also ordered to make his mobile phone available if police wanted to carry out checks on his calls.

© UTV News
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