Thursday 18 January 2018

Pair in court over officer murder

David Black was shot as he drove to work last year.
David Black was shot as he drove to work last year.

Two men have appeared in courts on both sides of the Irish border in connection with the murder of a prison officer in Northern Ireland.

One defendant was accused of obtaining and bringing a car from the Irish Republic which was linked to the shooting dead of David Black, 52, on the M1 motorway in Co Armagh on November 1. The second man was separately charged in Dublin with IRA membership.

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

Damien Joseph McLaughlin, 36, was allegedly linked by CCTV evidence and a registration plate trace by garda to a Toyota Camry moved north from the Republic, Lisburn Magistrates' Court heard. That happened the day before 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, it was claimed in court. McLaughlin was accused of obtaining the car at Carrigallen, Co Leitrim, and bringing it to Northern Ireland.

An investigating officer from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) told Lisburn Magistrates' Court: "We believe we will be able to prove that the car was moved from there (Carigallen) shortly after Mr McLaughlin was in Carrigallen and it was taken straight to Northern Ireland towards the Craigavon area."

Mr Black, from Cookstown,Co Tyrone, was shot dead close to Craigavon on the M1 motorway. He was the first prison officer killed in Northern Ireland for 20 years. McLaughlin from Kilmascally Road, Dungannon, Co Tyrone, was remanded in custody to reappear via video-link at Craigavon Magistrates' Court, Co.Armagh on January 4.

Meanwhile at Dublin's non-jury Special Criminal Court Vincent Banks, 44, from the Smithfield Gate apartments in the city was charged with IRA membership on December 18. He was also accused of withholding information since October 10 relating to Mr Black's murder.

Detective Sergeant Marilyn Brosnan told the Dublin court that when Banks was charged at Ballymun Garda station in Dublin he replied: "Not at this time." When he was later handed a copy of the charge sheet in the courts complex, he said: "I don't believe so."

Mr Justice Paul Butler remanded Banks in custody until Friday when a bail application will be heard. A 31-year-old woman arrested with Banks in Dublin has been released without charge.

Press Association

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