Murder accused further remanded

Coleraine Court.
Coleraine Court.

A man charged with murder in Ballycastle was unable to appear via video link to a Coleraine Court because he was out of prison for a medical appointment.

Christopher Patrick Keenan (34), whose address was listed as no fixed abode, Ballymena, is charged with killing Anthony McErlain on January 28 this year.

Mr McErlain (48) was found dead at a house in the Broombeg View area of Ballycastle.

Keenan was due to have appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court via video link from Maghaberry Prison on Monday July 4 but District Judge Liam McNally said he had received a letter saying the accused would not be doing so as he had an “external medical appointment”.

Staff at the prison confirmed to the court they did not have Keenan on their list of those appearing via video link.

At the same court a prosecutor said a “considerable” amount of evidence including forensic evidence and a pathology report is still awaited.

Keenan was remanded in continuing custody and the case adjourned to August 1.

CAR CAUGHT FIRE

A man said he admitted he had been driving a car which had faulty brakes and caught fire because he didn’t want police to think the blaze was part of a “pattern” after another vehicle had been damaged in Dervock.

Coleraine Magistrates Court was told police were approached by Terence Robert Horner (44), of McArthur Avenue, Dervock, following the incident in June.

The Fire Service were in attendance at the fire in a Vauxhall Corsa at McArthur Avenue and a prosecutor told the court on July 4 the Fire Service did not believe an accelerant had been used.

When police were carrying out enquiries Horner approached and said he was “responsible” for the car being where it was.

He said it belonged to his partner and after trying to fix brakes he had taken it out for a test and crashed into a wall at Knock Road, Dervock.

He said he was able to get the vehicle back home but it then caught fire and he moved it away from his house to stop the flames spreading and he was relieved he had earlier been in the car alone rather than his partner and children.

Defence solicitor Sam Barr said none of the offences would have come to light if Horner had not admitted them.

He said another vehicle had been damaged a short time before and police had been concerned the fire incident could have been some sort of a “pattern”.

The court heard Horner had a “chequered career” regarding courts and and an “atrocious” driving record.

He pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated taking of a vehicle; absence of insurance and licence and failing to stop, remain and report an accident and was given a two year conditional discharge; banned from driving for six months and fined £300.

DISORDERLY

A PORTRUSH woman has pleaded guilty to offences including being disorderly in Portstewart and assaulting and resisting police officers.

Megan McLaughlin (27), of Primrose Drive, appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Monday July 4 in relation to an incident on May 28 this year.

Her case has been adjourned to July 18 for the preparation of a pre-sentence report.