Page last updated at 22:40 GMT, Tuesday, 26 May 2009 23:40 UK

Police 'stood by' as man murdered

Kevin McDaid
A police officer tried to revive Mr McDaid at the scene

The chief constable has asked the Police Ombudsman to investigate claims that his officers stood by and did not intervene as Kevin McDaid was attacked.

The Catholic father-of-four was beaten to death by a gang of men near his home in Coleraine on Sunday after Rangers won the Scottish league title.

Ten people, including a 15-year-old youth, are being questioned. Two other men have been released without charge.

Police said there was no evidence that loyalists paramilitaries were involved.

Mr McDaid's wife, Evelyn, was beaten as she tried to go to her husband's aid.

She said she believed her husband's death was the work of loyalist paramilitaries.

However, Assistant Chief Constable Alistair Finlay said there was "no evidence this was anything other than a maverick group of yobs".

"This group made their way down from a pub intent on violence," Mr Finlay said.

"There is no suggestion it was in any way organised by any particular group. "This was a group of about 15 males who went on a rampage with devastating consequences."

Mr Finlay, who defended the police's handling of the incident, also denied a claim by Mr McDaid's family that officers stood by while he was being attacked.

"This is not something that we're aware of, but if anybody has any information on that we would ask them to contact us and share that information with us," Mr Finlay said.

Evelyn McDaid
Evelyn McDaid went to the scene of her husband's murder

"Police arrived very quickly after the initial phone calls, and there were up to 60 people engaged in hand-to-hand fighting.

"Two neighbourhood police officers moved to make an initial arrest of one of the main aggressors, but such was the hostility of the crowd that they had to withdraw and move to rendering first aid.

"They were joined very quickly by a second two officers, who immediately rendered first aid on Mr McDaid, including CPR, in an attempt to save his life."

Mr Finlay said he believed there were tensions in the Heights area after Rangers won the Scottish Premier League over rivals Celtic.

"The indication was that the community in the Heights believed that there was to be some sort of band parade and that there would be a number of exhibitions of triumphalism coming from the loyalist community," he said.

"In response to that there was the building of barricades and the raising of some flags.

"We achieved, as we understood, a settlement where the barricades were removed, and indeed Kevin was part of the removal.

"He was speaking to the community policing sergeant only 45 minutes before his death.

"The build-up to this was tension, but our understanding was that tension had been diffused.

"Events moved very quickly as this maverick group of people moved down in response to flags being put up in the Heights and, as we understand it, sought to try to take down those flags.

"That then led to the group disturbance where Kevin lost his life."

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