Child killer Barry McCarney was linked to the gang which carried out the savage murder of a man hacked to death in front of his pregnant wife, a court was told.
He picked up the gang who had attacked traveller John Mongan and drove them from Co Fermanagh to Londonderry, it was alleged.
The link, which previously could not be reported for legal reasons, was revealed after McCarney’s conviction for the murder of toddler Millie Martin.
It comes as fresh details about his violent past — including domestic abuse and links to “prolific criminals” — emerged.
On Tuesday a jury took just three hours to unanimously convict McCarney (33), from Woodview Crescent in Trillick, of murdering 15-month-old Millie.
Mr Mongan (30) was attacked in the bedroom of his west Belfast home in February 2008. He was hacked to death with an axe and sword in front of his wife, who was due to give birth the next day, and seven-year-old daughter.
McCarney’s “peripheral” role emerged during a bail hearing at Dungannon Court in late 2010. A mobile phone used by one of the gang was tracked from Derry to Belfast and then to Kesh, where a jeep believed to have been used by them was found burnt out.
According to a prosecution lawyer, McCarney drove the gang out of Fermanagh.
“Recently he was involved in the murder of a member of the travelling community in a peripheral way,” she told the hearing.
She explained McCarney was asked to transport the killers from Irvinestown to Derry. He did so and afterwards said he realised they were involved in the murder.
The lawyer said the point was that the gang had phoned McCarney when they needed help.
A court reporter was told not to publish the allegation for fear it would prejudice McCarney’s defence at his subsequent trial for Millie’s murder.
The trial, which concluded this week, heard harrowing details of the injuries suffered by the toddler, including fractured ribs, bruising and a badly burnt finger.
It was claimed Millie suffered the burn after touching a candle. However, the prosecutor told the earlier bail application it was “consistent with a cigarette burn”.
McCarney, a smoker, claimed he was with Millie when she held her finger over a candle.
The same hearing was also told that McCarney had convictions for violence and possessing weapons. He was said to be connected to the travelling community across the border and had links to “prolific criminals”.
She said ex-partners described him as being of a “very aggressive, controlling nature and somebody that is very highly sexed”.
The prosecutor told the court McCarney had previously been investigated for domestic violence and was on bail on September 17, 2005 when he went into Irvinestown and damaged a vehicle. The victim subsequently withdrew her complaint.
Another bail hearing was told that McCarney had three children by two previous partners. A detective constable raised concerns that he might cause them harm.
She said he had a history of violence and she was concerned he would intimidate and interfere with witnesses. She revealed he had been charged with assaulting a woman, threatening to kill her and choking her. The victim withdrew her complaint after one of McCarney’s relations approached her and said: “No face, no case”.
Millie Martin (right) died on December 11, 2009, a day after being admitted to hospital with serious injuries. It followed weeks of abuse which culminated in a fatal attack by Barry McCarney. The trial heard how the 15-month-old toddler suffered a multitude of other injuries including 21 fractured ribs. McCarney was unanimously convicted of murder, sexual assault and GBH and was given a life sentence, with a minimum tariff to be set in the new year.