Page last updated at 15:58 GMT, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 16:58 UK

McCartney witness admitted lying

Magennis's bar
Mr McCartney was killed outside Magennis's bar

A man described as one of Robert McCartney's best friends, who was with him on the day he was killed, has been giving evidence at his murder trial.

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

Edward Gowdy had been drinking with the victim in Magennis's bar in the city centre.

During cross examination, he admitted lying to police because of a perceived paramilitary involvement in the murder.

Giving evidence from behind a curtain, he said that because of the area where he lived, he "didn't know the situation at the time, what I could say or what I couldn't say".

He said he went back into the bar and finished his drink and later received a text message from his wife saying Mr McCartney was "in a bad way".
Edward Gowdy

Asked why he did not intervene when he saw his "great friend" and Brendan Devine being followed down Market Street by a group of men, he claimed they were armed.

When asked "did you have no worries for them at all? Why did you do nothing about it?", Mr Gowdy replied: "The reason why is that the IRA don't usually kill people on the street. They would do it the next day."

He added he was told by a man at the scene "we will sort him (Brendan Devine) tomorrow."

Earlier, Mr Gowdy said a fight broke out inside shortly after 2230 GMT and there was "a lot of blood and mayhem".

He said the next thing he remembered was standing outside the bar with Robert McCartney and another friend, Brendan Devine, who was covered in blood.

He said the three of them had then walked along a side street and he noticed a group of men following them, some of whom were carrying bottles and sticks.

Mr Gowdy said he went to talk to them and was hit across the face with a stick and told to leave the area.

He said he went back into the bar and finished his drink and later received a text message from his wife saying Mr McCartney was "in a bad way".

Mr Gowdy said he went to the Royal Victoria Hospital where Mr McCartney later died.

The trial, at Belfast Crown Court, continues.

Accused 'seen killing McCartney'
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