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Last Updated: Friday, 4 June, 2004, 16:16 GMT 17:16 UK
Missing man 'set up' arrests
Gareth O'Connor has been missing since May 2003
Missing South Armagh man Gareth O'Connor was in telephone contact with police just days before four men were arrested in an undercover security operation, a court has heard.

Donald Mullan, 33, from Firmount Park, Dungannon, Sean Dillion, 27, of Roughan Way, Coalisland, Kevin Murphy, 33, of Altmore Park, Coalisland and Brendan O'Connor, 26, of Cavanoneill Road, Pomeroy are accused of conspiracy to murder and possession of a rocket launcher.

Defence lawyers claim Mr O'Connor, who is believed to have been murdered by the IRA, organised a bogus burglary to set the men up.

Three of the accused, Mr Mullan, Mr Dillon and Mr Murphy, allegedly had the primed rocket launcher with them when they were arrested in a field in Coalisland in February 2002.

Mr O'Connor was detained in a nearby car park in a vehicle supplied by Gareth O'Connor.

At Belfast Crown Court on Friday, the prosecution accepted that two mobile phones featured in the case belonged to Gareth O'Connor and that they had been used to contact police.

Final submissions in the trial will begin on Monday.

BBC NI's Barbara McCann reports:
"Defence lawyers claim that Gareth O'Connor organised a bogus burglary to set the four men up"


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