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Men in court over David Black murder

Damien McLaughlin appeared charged in connection with David Black's murder.

A man has appeared in court charged with supplying the car which was used in the murder of prison officer David Black.

Thursday, 20 December 2012
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Mr Black, a 52-year-old father of two, was fatally shot when a car pulled up alongside him on the M1 as he drove to work at Maghaberry prison. The Toyota Camry was later found burnt out.

Damien Joseph McLaughlin, from Kilmascally Road in Dungannon, is charged with obtaining the car used in the attack.

McLaughlin, 36, appeared at Lisburn Magistrates' Court on Thursday amid a heavy security presence. It is alleged he obtained the car in Carrigallen, Co Leitrim, and brought it to Northern Ireland.

A police officer told the court, "We believe we will be able to prove that the car was moved from there shortly after Mr McLaughlin was in Carrigallen and it was taken straight to Northern Ireland towards the Craigavon area."

He said Gardaí have conducted "extensive inquiries" into the movements of the car, and will send evidence to support a terrorism charge to Northern Ireland as soon as possible.

The investigating officer appealed for witnesses to go to police, north and south of the border.

"If too much is said along that line it will be a serious deterrent to other people in assisting police.

The Garda Siochána believe that they have evidence sufficient and that will come to us in due course.

Investigating officer

Mr Black's son, Kyle, watched as McLaughlin's solicitor said he did not believe there was enough evidence to connect his client to the charge.

But the District Judge remanded McLaughlin in custody to appear again via video link next month.

Meanwhile a 44-year-old man has appeared in court in Dublin charged with IRA membership.

Vincent Banks is accused of withholding information between 10 October and 19 December in relation to Mr Black's murder.

It is understood Banks, of Smithfield Gate apartments in the city, is suspected of being a member of the Real IRA.

Detective Sergeant Marilyn Brosnan told the court that when charged at Ballymun Garda Station on Thursday, Banks replied, "Not at this time."

When later handed a copy of the charge sheet, the policewoman said Banks remarked, "I don't believe so."

He has been remanded in custody until Friday when a bail application will be heard.

A 31-year-old woman arrested in Dublin earlier this week has been released without charge.