Teenager denied bail as assault victim dies
A YOUNG man charged in connection with the death of a man over the weekend was refused bail yesterday after a court heard he had twice attempted to escape custody.
Connor McClelland (19), of Cullentrabane, Laragh, Castleblaney, Co Monaghan, was charged with assault causing serious harm following the death of musician Gavin O'Connor (22) in Monaghan in the early hours of Saturday morning. A further, more serious charge is expected to follow.
Sitting at Cavan District Court, Judge Kevin Kilraine said the defendant's efforts to escape custody were both "serious and devious" and remanded him in custody.
Gardai had objected to his bail application on the basis that they felt he posed a flight risk.
Sergeant Anthony Finn told the court that Mr McClelland had attempted to evade gardai at his home during his arrest and had made it some 30 to 40 feet from the house.
Detective Garda Bobby Ogle said that later that day, after he had been questioning Mr McClelland, he informed him that Mr O'Connor had died.
"At that, the accused told me he wasn't feeling well and he asked could he be let outside for some fresh air," he told the court.
They went outside for 10 or 15 minutes, where Mr McClelland smoked a cigarette before attempting to run from the garda station.
"He took flight -- ran out the avenue at the back of the station across the main road which was busy," said Det Gda Ogle.
"He went down a laneway on the far side of the road, which led down to another laneway. All the time I was shouting at him to stop.
"He stopped because I was gaining on him and he patently wasn't going to outrun me."
He told the court that if given bail he would be concerned Mr McClelland would not appear for subsequent court dates.
In response to the evidence, Mr McClelland, who was wearing a dark-blue top and tracksuit trousers, said: "I just freaked out. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know what was going on. I didn't even know where I was going, I just ran."
Superintendent Noel Cunningham said that a file on the case had gone to the DPP and that a further, more serious charge was expected.
Both parents gave evidence, agreeing that they would keep their son under virtual house arrest and that they would try to control him.
Gardai raised concerns that the parents would not be able to do this and it was suggested that they had encountered trouble with him in the past.
Judge Kilraine refused bail on the seriousness of the charge; the likelihood of a further, more serious charge being brought; and because Mr McClelland represented a flight risk.
"He made a serious and devious attempt to escape custody and he did that in a premeditated way after he had learned of the death of the gentleman," the judge noted.
Mr McClelland was remanded to appear before Carrickmacross District Court on Wednesday.