L’UDA COINVOLTA NELL’OMICIDIO McDAID

La polizia è fermamente convinta del coinvolgimento dell’UDA nell’omicidio settario di Kevin McDaid e nel tentato omicidio di Damien Fleming, entrambi avvenuti il 24 maggio scorso a Coleraine.
Dieci persone testimoni hanno subito minacce. Libertà su cauzione negata ad un uomo di 49 anni.
David James John Cochrane, 48 anni, residente a Windyhall Park, Coleraine, ha invece negato l’accusa di rissa.
“I potenziali testimoni sono restii a fornire elementi di prova, temendo per la  loro vita e la vita dei loro congiunti”.
L’accusa, opponendosi alla richiesta di libertà su cauzione presentata da Cochrane, ha affermato che vi è un rischio di possibili interferenze con i testimoni.
Per questa ragione e per il fatto che durante gli attacchi gli aggressori inneggiassero all’UDA, è sempre più forte la convinzione che alle spalle dei disordini ci sia realmente il gruppo paramilitare lealista.
Affermazione questa, respinta dalla difesa che ha anche sostenuto come ilrilascio di Cochrane possa ulteriormente inasprire le tensioni, in vista della imminente stagione delle marce orangiste.
Vi sarebbero anche testimonianze in disaccordo in difesa dell’iumputato: un testimone ha affermato che Cochrane indossava la maglia bianca dei Rangers, mentre un altro ha dichiarato che  indossava quella rossa del Liverpool.
La negazione della libertà su cauzione, è stata così giustificata dal giudice dell’High Court: “Si ritiene che un organizzazione terroristica sia stata coinvolta o che membri di tale organizzazione siano stati coinvolti negli eventi di quel giorno. E’ significativo il fatto che un certo numero di testimoni si presume siano stati minacciati, direttamente o indirettamente. Credo che la loro incolumità sia a rischio e e la polizia ha confermato che le minacce  sono state realmente poste in essere”.
“La portata degli eventi stessi e la natura delle minacce, suggeriscono che un certo numero di persone determinate ad intimidire i testimoni attuali o potenzialmente futuri”.
Potrebbero essere necessari 2 anni prima di giungere al processo.

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‘UDA involved’ in McDaid murder (BBC News Northern Ireland)

Police believe UDA members were involved in the mob murder of Kevin McDaid, the High Court has heard. Prosecutors said 10 people were under threat as part of an alleged campaign to intimidate witnesses to the attack in Coleraine last month. One of the men accused in connection with the killing of the 49-year-old was refused bail on Thursday. David James John Cochrane, 48, of Windyhall Park, Coleraine, denies a charge of affray. Mr McDaid, a Catholic community worker, was attacked by loyalists after a row over republican flags in the Heights area on 24 May. “Potential witnesses are reluctant to give evidence and fearful for their lives and the lives of family members” Prosecuting barrister A prosecuting lawyer said it was alleged that Mr Cochrane was part of a group shouting sectarian abuse. Another Catholic man, Damien Fleming, was also attacked and seriously injured as violence flared after Rangers won the Scottish Premier League football title. Opposing Mr Cochrane’s application to be released, the lawyer claimed there was a risk of possible interference with witnesses. He said police had informed six witnesses their lives were at risk “as a direct consequence of the events surrounding the murder of Mr McDaid and the attempted murder of Mr Fleming”. “Police have also received complaints from four further witnesses that they have personally been threatened and told to leave Coleraine or not to give statements to police,” he said. With claims of paramilitary chanting during the attack having previously been made, the prosecution lawyer added: “It is further the police view that UDA members were involved in the murder of Mr McDaid, the attempted murder of Mr Fleming and the wider incident. “There is nothing to suggest he has any connection to an organisation, band or faction” Defence barrister “This has caused widespread fear in the local area. One of the direct effects is that potential witnesses are reluctant to give evidence and fearful for their lives and the lives of family members.” He claimed that releasing Mr Cochrane would further heighten tensions ahead of the imminent marching season. A defence lawyer said his client strongly denied involvement. He said conflicting accounts had been given by two witnesses: one claimed Mr Cochrane was wearing a white Rangers top while the other stated he had a red Liverpool shirt on. The defence barrister told the court the accused insisted he had stayed in the bar from where it is alleged the mob set out on the day of the murder. Arguing that the case could take two years to get to trial, he added: “There is nothing to suggest he has any connection to an organisation, band or faction.” ‘Sectarian overtones’ After hearing both sides Mr Justice Hart said there were “sectarian overtones” to the attack. Refusing bail, the judge said: “It is believed that a terrorist organisation was involved or members of such an organisation were involved in the events of that day. “It is significant that a number of witnesses are alleged to have been threatened, either directly or indirectly, believe that they are at risk and have received notification from police that threats to their lives have been made. “The extent of the events themselves and the nature of the threats to so many people all suggest there are a number of people who may well be determined to intimidate actual or prospective witnesses.”

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