Northern Ireland

Kevin McDaid Coleraine case: Men admit lesser charges

Kevin McDaid
Image caption Kevin McDaid died following a suspected sectarian attack in May 2009

Seven out of 12 men charged in connection with the death of a Catholic community worker have had manslaughter and attempted murder charges dropped.

Kevin McDaid, 49, died after he was attacked outside his Somerset Drive home in Coleraine in May 2009.

There had been tensions in the Heights area over flags at the time.

The trial was told the serious charges would not be proceeded with, as the men had pleaded guilty to lesser offences.

All seven men were released on bail.

Three of them pleaded guilty to charges including grievous bodily harm (GBH):

  • Aaron Beech, 28, of John Street, Ballymena, pleaded guilty to GBH with intent against Mr McDaid's friend, Damien Fleming, assaulting Mr McDaid and affray
  • Ivan Beattie McDowell, 47, of Taggart Mews, Ballymoney, pleaded guilty to GBH with intent in relation to Mr Fleming
  • Frank Daly, 53, of Oakland Walk, Coleraine, admitted GBH against Damien Fleming, assaulting Mr McDaid, assaulting Evelyn McDaid and affray

Four of them pleaded guilty to affray:

  • David Craig Cochrane, 23, of Windyhall Park, Coleraine
  • Rodney Gardner, 46, of Knocklynn Grange, Coleraine
  • James McAfee, of Lisnablagh Road, Coleraine
  • Christopher McDowell, 38, of Castle Mews Walk, Castlerock

Prosecution lawyers told Belfast Crown Court the more serious charges should be left on the books.

The trial of five other men on manslaughter and attempted murder charges has been getting under way.

Two other men had appeared in the dock to face lesser charges.

One of them, Johnathon Stirling, 25, of Windyhall Park, Coleraine, pleaded guilty to threats to harm.

A charge of making threats to kill will be left on the books, and he was released on continuing bail.

The other, John Freeman, 24, of Sunderland Road, Belfast, changed his plea to guilty on charges of intimidation of a witness and common assault