Page last updated at 14:49 GMT, Thursday, 27 August 2009 15:49 UK

Man remanded over McDaid murder

James McAfee
James McAfee appeared before Ballymena Magistrates Court

A 28-year-old Coleraine man has been remanded in custody charged with the murder of Kevin McDaid.

James McAfee, of Lisnablagh Road, also faces four other charges, including the attempted murder of Damian Fleming and assaulting Mr McDaid's wife.

Mr McAfee was remanded in custody and will appear in court again via video-link on 21 September.

Mr McDaid's wife was in Ballymena Magistrates' Court for the hearing on Thursday morning.

Before the short hearing started, the magistrate acknowledged emotions were running "very high" but warned those in the public gallery, which included supporters of the defendant as well as friends and family of Mr McDaid, that any disruption would not be tolerated.

The two groups were separated by police officers.

An officer told the court forensic evidence linking the accused to the incident had been obtained on Wednesday.

He said police were objecting to bail because of concerns about interference with witnesses - and some had already reported being threatened.

Twenty four witnesses have already been identified, he said, but the case was at a very early stage and other suspects and witnesses still have to be spoken to.

A solicitor highlighted that the defendant had been on police bail since July and had caused "no problems".

He also said the forensic evidence, which related to clothing taken from the accused, had no links to the deceased or any injured people.

The officer said he was not aware of this but said the evidence "linked him to the scene or a clean up operation".

The solicitor said only two witnesses had positively identified the accused - one who had given differing accounts to police and the other who had an extensive police record.

He added that considerable cash sureties of £10,000 and £5,000 were available and a bail address had been located in Kells near Ballymena.

A magistrate said that if police had sufficient evidence to charge him and believed there was a danger of witness interference, he was satisfied that bail should be refused.

As the defendant was taken from the dock, "cheerio" and "have a nice time" were shouted by those with Mrs McDaid.

Mr McAfee is the 11th person to be charged in connection with the murder of Mr McDaid in May.

The father-of-four, from Coleraine, was killed near his home in Somerset Drive by a loyalist mob.

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