Irish News

Thursday 28 August 2014

Man 'linked to jail officer murder'

Published 04/01/2013 | 11:35

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Damien Joseph McLaughlin, pictured being carried in a police car to an earlier hearing

A suspect allegedly linked to the murder of a prison officer in Northern Ireland attempted to get a battery for the car used to attack him, a court heard.

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Damien Joseph McLaughlin, 36, denies obtaining and bringing from the Irish Republic the Toyota Camry which was used to shoot dead David Black, 52, on the M1 motorway in Co Armagh on November 1.

He was refused bail at Craigavon Magistrates' Court after a district judge said he posed a serious risk of reoffending and had previous convictions for possession of firearms.

He was also accused by police of membership of a colour party, a republican show of strength, at a funeral in Dublin.

A Police Service of Northern Ireland detective said: "The evidence is that there is CCTV showing Mr McLaughlin in a shop very close to the car making inquiries about a battery that would allow him to start the car because there was an issue with starting it. The Garda have evidence that Mr McLaughlin obtained assistance to start the car."

Dissident republicans claimed responsibility for killing father-of-two Mr Black as he drove to work at Maghaberry high security prison, near Lisburn, Co Antrim.

Mr McLaughlin is allegedly linked by CCTV evidence and a registration plate trace by Irish police to a Toyota Camry moved north from the Irish Republic a day before the killing. A car with the same registration mark and make was used in the high-speed shooting.

Detectives believe they know where and approximately when the vehicle was moved, police have claimed in court.

McLaughlin, from Kilmascally Road, Dungannon, Co Tyrone, appeared via video link from Maghaberry accused of obtaining the car at Carrigallen, Co Leitrim, and bringing it to Northern Ireland.

His solicitor Peter Corrigan told Craigavon Magistrates' Court that security camera footage did not show his client close to the vehicle and there was no evidence that he started the car. "There was CCTV in relation to the car being in the Clogher Valley but no evidence linking my client to that," he said. "There is no evidence linking him to starting a vehicle, using a battery or, more importantly, driving a vehicle."

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