Northern Ireland

McDaid witness threat accused banned from Coleraine

Kevin McDaid
Image caption Kevin McDaid was beaten to death in May 2009

A man accused of threatening a witness in the Kevin McDaid murder investigation has been banned from Coleraine, where the 49-year-old was beaten to death last year.

John Freeman, of Tullans Park in the town, is charged with making threats to kill and intimidating a witness.

A prosecution lawyer told the court one of the alleged remarks was, "I hope he's eating and spitting out maggots."

The 21-year-old was granted bail to live with an uncle in Belfast.

Mr McDaid, a Catholic community worker, was beaten to death in a sectarian attack in the town in May 2009.

Verbal exchange

Mr Freeman and a co-accused are alleged to have approached the witness and her mother outside DHSS offices on 29 June and made comments about Mr McDaid.

A prosecution lawyer said Mr Freeman warned the witness she would be shot if the charges were not dropped, while both men allegedly shouted sectarian slurs at the women.

During police interviews, the accused accepted there had been a verbal exchange but denied saying anything threatening or intimidating, the court heard.

A defence lawyer said the alleged remarks made during an accidental encounter were disputed, and claimed the altercation was started by the women.

He said one of them made mocking comments about a man charged in connection with the murder.

Mr Freeman's lawyer also said there was no motive for the threats as he was not among those accused over the killing.

Lord Justice Girvan banned him from entering Coleraine, and from having any contact with either his co-accused or any witnesses in the investigation.

He was also ordered to make his mobile phone available if police wanted to carry out checks on his calls.

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