Page last updated at 14:49 GMT, Thursday, 29 May 2008 15:49 UK

'IRA visit' to McCartney witness

Robert McCartney
Robert McCartney was beaten and stabbed to death three years ago

A friend of Robert McCartney, who is a witness at his murder trial, has said he was visited by representatives of the IRA within days of the killing.

Mr McCartney, 33, was beaten and stabbed to death outside a Belfast bar on 30 January 2005.

Ed Gowdy told Belfast Crown court he was told not to co-operate with police.

However, he said weeks later, an IRA army council representative told him he could talk to detectives. He then made a full statement on 10 March 2005.

Mr Gowdy, who was with Mr McCartney on the night he was killed, said his statements before that date had contained lies because he feared retribution from the IRA.

But under cross-examination, Mr Gowdy said he could not remember 90% of what had happened on the night and agreed he had been very drunk at the time.

Terence Davison, 51, of Stanfield Place, Belfast, denies murder.

Mr Davison is also accused of affray as are James McCormick, 39, and Joseph Gerard Emmanuel Fitzpatrick, 47.

Mr Fitzpatrick is further charged with an assault on another of Mr Cartney's friends.

The trial continues.

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