Sunday 15 September 2019

Woman who gave false alibi for man arrested over prison officer murder given suspended sentence

Fiona McFadden (29), of Killough Gardens, Lurgan, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice
Fiona McFadden (29), of Killough Gardens, Lurgan, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice Newsdesk Newsdesk

A woman who provided a false alibi for a man arrested over the murder of prison officer David Black has been given a suspended jail sentence.

Fiona McFadden (29), of Killough Gardens, Lurgan, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and has been sentenced to 18 months imprisonment suspended for three years.

A prosecution barrister told Belfast Crown Court that her false statement was not motivated by "anything other than loyalty".

"There is no evidence to suggest she has connections to or has sympathies with the terrorist organisation that carried out this murder," he said.

The judge said he accepted her false account was a "misguided act of loyalty to the father of your child".

Sentencing Ms McFadden the judge said her guilty plea reflected "an element of remorse".

Mr Black was shot dead on the M1 in Co Armagh in November 2012 on his way to work at the high security Maghaberry Prison.

The 52-year-old father-of-two was the first prison officer in Northern Ireland to be murdered in almost 20 years.

Sean McVeigh (33), of Victoria Road, Lurgan, was charged at Craigavon Magistrates Court in February 2014 with the murder of Mr Black.

He was further charged with possessing an assault rifle with intent to endanger life.

However, in July last year the charges against him were dramatically dropped.

Detectives from Serious Crime Branch investigating the murder of Prison Officer David Black in November 2012 welcomed the sentencing at Belfast Crown Court.

Detective Inspector John Caldwell said: "Father-of-two Mr Black (52) was driving from his Cookstown home to work at Maghaberry prison at 7.30am on Thursday 1 November 2012 in his black Audi A4 car along the M1 motorway between Portadown (Junction 11) and Lurgan (Junction 10).

"Approximately one mile from the Oxford Island exit ramp, a dark blue Toyota Camry car with a Republic of Ireland registration, 94 D 50997, pulled alongside and a number of shots were fired, fatally injuring Mr Black. The Toyota Camry was found burnt out in the Inglewood district of Lurgan a short time later at 7.50am.”

Detective Inspector Caldwell added "Police are still appealing for people to come forward with information. I am making a particular appeal to people in Lurgan to think about what they know and what they saw at the time of the murder.

"The dark blue Toyota Camry was in Lurgan prior to the shooting on the evening of 31 October and was set on fire about 20 minutes after David's murder a few miles from the M1 at Inglewood on the morning of 1 November. A number of men were seen running away from the Toyota Camry car.

"I would urge anyone who can help us with this specific inquiry or who knows anything about David’s murder to come forward. I would remind people there is a reward of up to £10,000 available from Crimestoppers for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

"I would also appeal to people in Cookstown to think about what they saw in the days and weeks before David’s murder. Did you see any unusual activity around David’s home or the places he frequented? If you have any information, please contact us."

Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News