Page last updated at 22:38 GMT, Thursday, 28 May 2009 23:38 UK

Police release mob murder suspect

One of the accused arriving at court
Nine men appeared in court over the murder and assault

One of two men arrested by police investigating the murder of Kevin McDaid in Coleraine has been released.

Mr McDaid, 49, died after being beaten by a loyalist mob close to his home in Somerset Drive on Sunday.

On Thursday, nine men were charged in connection with the murder and the attempted murder of Damien Fleming.

Six were charged with murder and attempted murder, two with attempted murder and one with affray. All of them were remanded in custody.

The men appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday. They all deny the charges.

At the hearing, 17 armed police in riot gear ringed over 70 loyalists who filled the public benches.

On the other side of the court, more police provided a human shield around friends and family members of Mr McDaid, including one of his four sons.

The 30-minute hearing passed without incident after District Judge Philip Mateer warned anyone shouting in court would be removed and dealt with.

Mr Fleming remains in a critical condition in hospital.


Meanwhile, the first and deputy first ministers, Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness, have held talks at Stormont about the killing with the chief constable.

Afterwards, standing on the same spot where, two months ago, he branded dissident republicans "traitors" to Ireland after their murder of two soldiers and a policeman, Mr McGuinness said he was outraged by Mr McDaid's murder.

"I think that it is incredibly important at this time that all of us are seen to be standing together against what is effectively hate crime," he said.

The deputy first minister added that politicians faced a mammoth task in tackling "the monster of sectarianism".

Mr Robinson said an initiative was being planned for the area where Sunday's attack took place.

"It is vital that we not only give a lead, but we bring forward policies which encourage that cohesion within our community," Mr Robinson said.

David Craig Cochrane, 18, of Windyhall Park, was charged with murder and attempted murder. His father David James John Cochrane, 47, faces a charge of affray.

Ivan Beattie McDowell, 42, of Lisnablagh Road was charged with attempted murder.

John Thompson, 29, of Daneshill Road was charged with murder, attempted murder and assault.

Frank Simpson Daly, 48, of Rosemary Place was charged with murder, attempted murder and assaulting Evelyn McDaid and Leona Whittaker.

Christopher McDowell, 33, of Glebe Avenue was charged with murder and attempted murder.

Aaron Thomas Beech, 23, of Windyhall Park was charged with attempted murder and assault

Paul Andrew Newman, 40, of Grassmere Close was charged with murder and attempted murder.

John McGrath, 50, of Hawthorne Place was charged with murder, attempted murder and assaulting Evelyn McDaid.

Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde said the investigation would receive all the resources it required and predicted that further arrests would be made in the case.


Sunday's attacks happened after Rangers won the Scottish league title at the weekend.

Support for the two Glasgow football teams known as the Old Firm has traditionally divided along religious lines in Northern Ireland.

Most Rangers supporters are Protestants while Celtic fans are predominantly Catholic, and the rivalry between the teams has often been mirrored in sectarian clashes following big games.


Meanwhile, a loyalist parade due to take place in Coleraine on Friday evening has been shortened by the organisers so it does not pass the area where Mr McDaid was killed.

The Pride of the Bann flute band voluntarily shortened its planned route so it does not cross the Bann Bridge.

Parish priest Father Charles Keeney said the band had made the right decision.

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