Coleraine Murder Accused In Court

Nine men have appeared in court charged in connection with the murder of Coleraine father-of-four Kevin McDaid, and the attempted murder of Damien Fleming at the weekend.

The accused arrived at Ballymena Magistrates Court amid tight security, both inside and outside the building

Mr McDaid, a Catholic, died after a receiving a brutal sectarian beating close to his Somerset Drive home on Sunday.

Mr Fleming, now being treated in a Belfast hospital, remains in a critical condition.

Six men were today charged with murder and attempted murder, two others with attempted murder and another man with affray.
  • David Craig Cochrane, 18, of Windyhall Park, was charged with murder and attempted murder;
  • His father David James John Cochrane, 47, faces a charge of affray;
  • Ivan Beattie McDowell, 42, of Lisnablagh Road was charged with attempted murder;
  • John Thompson, 29, of Daneshill Road was charged with murder, attempted murder and assault;
  • Frank Simpson Daly, 48, of Rosemary Place was charged with murder, attempted murder and assaulting Evelyn McDaid and Leona Whittaker;
  • Christopher McDowell, 33, of Glebe Avenue was charged with murder and attempted murder;
  • Aaron Thomas Beech, 23, of Windyhall Park was charged with attempted murder and assault;
  • Paul Andrew Newman, 40, of Grassmere Close was charged with murder and attempted murder;
  • John McGrath, 50, of Hawthorne Place was charged with murder, attempted murder and assaulting Evelyn McDaid.
The men, who deny the charges, have all been remanded in custody.

A 31-year-old man was earlier released on bail pending further inquiries.
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The McDaid family were in court to hear the charges, remaining under heavy police guard.

More than a dozen armed officers also ring-fenced loyalist supporters who filed into the public gallery.

District Judge Philip Mateer told anyone intent on causing trouble that they would be ejected and dealt with but there was no disturbances during the 30 minute hearing.

Meanwhile, a loyalist band parade, due to take place in the area close to the attack tomorrow, has also been scaled-back.

Officials representing the Pride of the Bann flute band decided to reroute past the Bann Bridge, a move welcomed by local clergy.

Father Charles Keeney said: "I'm delighted that they've taken that decision - we all have to be sensitive to the feelings of people that have been bereaved and who are saddened in such a way."

However, the Parades Commission had said their was "no question" that the previously planned demonstration would have went ahead in the original fomat.

"I think it was probably inevitable something had to be done about the parade, because there was no question I think of the parade going the way in which it had originally been filed for," said the Commission's Roger Poole.

The band suggested there is no rational connections between itself and the recent violence.

Adding the re-routing was "an appropriate gesture and one which we hope will be taken as a sincere attempt to ease any community tensions".

Investigators from the Police Ombudsman's office are still assessing the police response to the incident, and claims that officers did not intervene early enough.

See: Rethink Loyalist Parade, Says Bishop


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