Northern Ireland

Ian Ogle murder suspect returned from Thailand 'to clear name'

Ian Ogle Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Ian Ogle had acted as a spokesman for the loyalist community

A court has heard that a 32-year-old man accused of murdering Ian Ogle told his daughter he was returning from Thailand to clear his name.

Mr Ogle was stabbed and beaten close to his home at Cluan Place, east Belfast, on 27 January.

Glenn Rainey, of McArthur Court, was arrested at Manchester Airport on Sunday evening.

At Belfast Magistrates' Court on Wednesday, he nodded to indicate he understood the murder charge.

A detective confirmed she could connect him to the date and place of the murder, before outlining more details about what happened.

Reprisal attack

She said that a number of people had been involved in an assault at a chip shop on the Beersbridge Road earlier that evening and claimed that Jonathan Brown, 33, of McArthur Court, who has also appeared in court charged with murdering Mr Ogle, organised a reprisal attack.

Shortly before 21:00 GMT, CCTV captured five men with their faces covered walking towards Cluan Place.

The detective said their case is that one of these men, wearing a bobble hat with a red scarf over his face and a distinctive jacket, was Mr Rainey.

Mr Ogle's family sobbed from the public gallery when the detective explained how the CCTV footage had captured five men assaulting Mr Ogle, stabbing him 11 times in just over 30 seconds.

The court was shown CCTV footage of the man in the red scarf and distinctive jacket allegedly walking away after the fatal attack, and heard that four independent witnesses saw three men getting into a nearby Seat Leon a short time later.

'Forensic clean-up'

"I would say that one is Mr Rainey," the detective said, and later added that the CCTV provided a "circumstantially quite strong case to connect".

She said that Mr Brown abandoned the vehicle and went to an address in east Belfast, where a "forensic clean-up" took place until the early hours.

"Clothing disposed of, shoes, weapons involved," she added.

Less than 24 hours later, she said, Mr Rainey fled to Thailand from Dublin through Moscow to Bangkok.

It emerged that he paid cash for the one-way ticket, and was travelling with his co-accused Mr Brown. Neither carried any luggage.

Cash withdrawal

She said that Mr Rainey's telephone showed a "flurry of activity of calls between Rainey and Brown commencing after the assault outside the chip shop" but she said there was no activity during the time of the murder.

The court also heard that four days before the assault, Mr Rainey was captured on CCTV in a bank, withdrawing £3,000 in cash.

The footage shows him wearing a distinctive jacket similar to that worn by one of those involved in Mr Ogle's murder.

It emerged that the potential knife and baton used in the assault were recovered in the Connswater River, close to the address where police claim the clean-up took place.

A forensic expert said the knife was consistent with the one used in the attack.

It is understood that Mr Rainey had been involved in an ongoing feud with the Ogle family since July 2017.

'Not enough material'

The defence solicitor said that the prosecution case was tenuous, with no evidence to connect his client with the murder and that the police had identified Mr Rainey from his distinctive jacket.

The lawyer said "in these circumstances several pieces of material innocent in themselves were tied together by a jacket which anyone could have... this is simply not enough material before the court to justify the charge".

He added that this was his clients fourth trip to Thailand - "going somewhere on holiday where you habitually go is simply not enough", he added.

The detective said that Mr Rainey's visa would have run out by the time he had returned to the UK, and that while material from his daughter's phone said he was "coming back to clear his name", he made no comment over six police interviews.

Mr Rainey was remanded in custody to appear again via videolink on Friday.