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Court is told of texts between suspects in family kidnap plot

A man accused of being part of a plot to kidnap a family of Co Derry financial workers has been refused High Court bail.

Prosecutors claimed Richard Manson exchanged text messages with another suspect — a boyfriend of one of the intended victims — who was inside the home from which they were to be taken hostage.

Manson, of Sherbey Crescent, Annalong, Newry, is alleged to have been part of an organised crime gang who planned to attack the home in Magherafelt last October.

The 33-year-old was arrested with two other men in a nearby field.

An imitation gun, gas-powered firearm, cable-ties, duct tape and balaclavas were also recovered. Manson faces charges of conspiracy to kidnap, rob and falsely imprison, and possession of a firearm with intent.

His lawyers applied to have him released on bail based mainly on the delay in proceeding with the case against him.

A judge was told that cash sureties of up to £7,000 could be lodged with the court.

However, a prosecuting barrister resisted the application, pointing out that a preliminary inquiry hearing is scheduled for August.

Philip Henry confirmed the intended victims were all employed by a financial institution.

He said one of the co-accused was in the house during the incident as he was the boyfriend of the family's daughter.

“There were several text messages exchanged between him and this applicant,” Mr Henry said. “One indicated that he was present in the injured parties' home and he would be in contact again when everybody was in bed.

“He gave an account at interview of duress.”

Refusing bail, Mr Justice Treacy ruled that any delay in the case was not enough to justify releasing Manson.

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