Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

Gun murder suspect Kieran McLaughlin at centre of week-long manhunt hits out at media as he denies guilt

Kieran McLaughlin gestures to family and friends as he enters court on Saturday
Kieran McLaughlin gestures to family and friends as he enters court on Saturday

A 58-year-old man arrested after a week-long search by police was cheered and applauded as he arrived at court to face a murder charge.

Kieran Edward Joseph McLaughlin, of Elaghmore Park in Londonderry, pleaded not guilty to the murder of 35-year-old Barry McCrory.

Mr McCrory was shot dead in his girlfriend's Shipquay Street flat on October 10.

Mr McLaughlin was also charged with possessing a weapon – namely a shotgun – with intent to endanger life or property on October 16, the day he was arrested.

McLaughlin, dressed in T-shirt and jeans, appeared unshaven.

A handful of men and women cheered and clapped as the defendant arrived at Derry Magistrates Court from Antrim PSNI station, where he was being questioned, under armed police escort for the court hearing.

They shouted "keep your head up Kieran", to which the defendant replied: "Aye, no problem."

McLaughlin was flanked by two police officers while in the dock and handcuffed.

When the charges were put to McLaughlin, he replied that he understood. After being charged with murder, McLaughlin replied: "Not guilty. This is a media smear campaign."

In reply to the shotgun charge his reply was "not guilty". McLaughlin spoke briefly to confirm his identity.

A detective constable from the PSNI's major investigations unit at Maydown, on the outskirts of Derry, told District Judge Barney McElholm that he could connect the defendant to the two charges.

Defence solicitor Kevin Casey asked the detective could he confirm that there was no terrorist connection.

The officer confirmed this.

There was no application for bail and Mr McElholm remanded McLaughlin in custody to appear again by video-link on November 14.

As he was being brought from the Bishop Street court immediately after the hearing, McLaughlin gave a thumbs-up to his supporters.

Armed police officers were present both inside and outside the court building for the brief remand hearing. There were no incidents.

One of the defendant's daughters, Ciara, was in the courtroom to hear her father speak only to confirm his date of birth and address.

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