Page last updated at 12:46 GMT, Monday, 8 June 2009 13:46 UK

McDaid 'was part of armed gang'

Forensic team at the scene
Mr McDaid was attacked close to his home by a loyalist mob

Kevin McDaid, the Coleraine man killed by loyalists last month, was part of an armed gang who earlier attacked one of the murder accused, a court has heard.

The claim was made during a bail application on behalf of David Craig Cochrane of Windyhall Park, Coleraine.

A solicitor said his client had "come under attack" by an armed gang, one of whom was Mr McDaid, after he went to the Heights area to remove flags.

Bail applications by Mr Cochrane, 18, and two other accused were denied.

Mr McDaid died after being beaten by a loyalist mob near his home at Somerset Drive.

Mr Cochrane's solicitor said his client admitted being in the area but left after he saw a "career criminal" who had "intimidated his family out of the Heights and someone he is scared of" amongst the armed gang.

The defence also said the prosecution "would have to give some considerable thought if they want to move forward with this charge (of murder) given that the deceased died of a heart attack".

Also applying for bail was Aaron Beech, 23, from Windyhall Park, who is charged with the attempted murder of Mr McDaid's friend Damian Fleming and assault.

'Kicking and shouting'

The court heard four witnesses allege they saw him kicking and shouting at Mr Fleming while he was lying on the ground and that he had admitted going to the area with 40 others, "none of whom he knows", to take down flags before throwing a wheelie bin through a window.

A solicitor for Mr Beech claimed the credibility of witnesses was "under stress" due to their accounts of the attack on Mr McDaid.

He said they had told officers the deceased was hit with sticks and bottles but that "surprisingly few abrasions were found on the body".

During a final bail application from David Cochrane Snr, 47, who is charged with affray, the court was told that at least two witnesses placed him at the scene, being part of a group armed with batons and sticks and shouting sectarian slogans.

A solicitor said his client denied being there and that he believed it was "very strange" none of the witnesses had identified him by name, "due to his height and size and that he is extremely well known in the Heights area".

Resident Magistrate, Richard Wilson refused all the applications on the basis that the police investigation was still active, tensions in the area remained high and there may be a risk of interference with witnesses.

Seven other men, who are all charged with offences relating to incident, also appeared in Coleraine Court this morning via video link. There was no application for bail made on their behalf.

All 10 men were remanded in custody to appear again in Coleraine via video link next month



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