Northern Ireland

'Paramilitary link' to Carrickfergus bar attack

The attack happened at the Royal Oak bar in Carrickfergus Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption The attack happened at the Royal Oak bar in Carrickfergus

A serious assault on a door man at a bar in Carrickfergus, County Antrim, has a suspected link to an ongoing paramilitary feud, a court has heard.

Two brothers and another man from Carrickfergus appeared at Belfast Magistrates' Court on Monday charged with attempted murder.

The court heard the door man at the Royal Oak bar was attacked on Saturday night with a fire extinguisher.

He is in a stable condition in hospital.

The men who appeared at court on Monday were Brian Sinclair, 50, from O'Rorke's Row, Ian Sinclair, 36 from Elizabeth Avenue and Glen McCullough, 52, from Castlemara Drive.

There was a heavy police presence at the Laganside Courts complex.

A judge told the court: "I have no desire to close the court. I'm asking everyone to remain composed."

Brian Sinclair applied for bail, which police opposed on the grounds of potential interference with witnesses.

An officer told the court that Ian and Brian Sinclair had been refused entry to the Royal Oak bar on Green Street by the victim.

He said the brothers believed they were not being allowed in because of an ongoing loyalist feud in the area.

It was heard that CCTV footage showed Brian Sinclair wrestling the victim to the ground, where Ian Sinclair hit him repeatedly on the head with a fire extinguisher.

Image caption The case was heard at Belfast Magistrates' Court

The court heard that Glen McCullough was also seen lifting the fire extinguisher and hitting the victim on the head with it as he lay in the entrance hallway to the bar.

The court heard the victim has a blood clot and air pockets in his brain as well as facial fractures, and will need to be "continually monitored" in hospital.

Brian Sinclair's solicitor said his client had been a turbine rigger for 30 years and was due to take up a new contract in Wales.

He added that his client had been "caught up in something".

A judge refused bail, telling the court that Brian Sinclair was not an "appropriate candidate" because of the suspected link between the assault and "organised paramilitarism".

All three men were remanded in custody to appear again via video link next month.

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