Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Kevin McDaid case accused fails to vary bail

A civil servant facing charges linked to the murder of Catholic community worker Kevin McDaid could lose his home due to crippling debts, the High Court has heard.

Lawyers for Aaron Beech said he has suffered extreme financial pressures since being suspended without pay from work and made to pay for rented accommodation outside Coleraine, Co Londonderry.

Beech (24) is charged with the attempted murder of Damien Fleming and an aggravated assault during the same alleged incident which claimed the life of Mr McDaid last May.

Although released on bail to stay at an address in Ballymoney, Beech sought permission to return to his home in Coleraine due to hardships.

His barrister Michael Boyd told the court: “This is a man who is genuinely under severe financial strain. He and his wife and five children are in danger of sinking in a mire of debt that has been building up now since the date of his charge.”

Mr Boyd said Beech is currently on benefits and has to meet mortgage payments of £621 a month. Another £100 a week is being paid for the rented accommodation in Ballymoney, he added.

“There is a very real danger the family home may be lost,” the lawyer claimed. “He has been borrowing from friends and family to pay the mortgage. The family cannot go on in that way and it’s got to the stage where they are essentially at breaking point.”

Mr McDaid (49), a father-of-four, was beaten to death when sectarian violence erupted in the Heights area of the town.

Conor Maguire, prosecuting, opposed Beech's application by stressing that all of those charged in connection with the murder have been kept out of Coleraine.

He said: There are significant community tensions arising out of the murder of Mr McDaid.”

Despite acknowledging the pressures facing Beech, Lord Justice Higgins refused his bail variation request. He said: “There were good reasons for those conditions being imposed — to prevent further violence.”

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