Northern Ireland

Fiona McFadden gets suspended sentence over false alibi

Prison officer David Black Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption David Black was murdered on his way to work

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, 30, of Killough Gardens, Lurgan, admitted lying about the movements of her former partner.

Sean McVeigh was arrested in connection with the murder investigation. All charges against him were dropped by the Public Prosecution Service last July.

McFadden was convicted of perverting the course of justice.

Prison officer David Black, 52, was on his way to work at Maghaberry Prison when he was shot dead on 1 November 2012.

'Loyalty'

A prosecution barrister told Belfast Crown Court that police called to her home on 3 November 2012 while at an "early stage" of the murder investigation.

McFadden had told detectives that she had been 'trick or treating' for Halloween with Sean McVeigh and their daughter between 4pm and 9.30pm on 31 October 2012.

She was no longer in a relationship with Mr McVeigh at the time, the prosecutor said.

He said 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 prosecutor said the false information had no impact or influence on the outcome of the investigation, but he referred to the police time taken up by arresting and interviewing her.

A defence barrister said McFadden was an otherwise "entirely law-abiding young woman" whose involvement "arose more out of naivety rather than anything else".

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

Giving her an 18-month sentence suspended for three years, he said her guilty plea reflected "an element of remorse".

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