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Anger after Christopher Meli family hear of murder accused's holiday plans on social media

Published 16/06/2016

Christopher Meli's parents, Christopher senior and Vanessa Burke. Pic BBC
Christopher Meli's parents, Christopher senior and Vanessa Burke. Pic BBC
Christopher Meli
Mourners carry Christopher's coffin

The family of father-of-one Christopher Meli have hit out after they heard one of those accused of his murder had his bail conditions changed to allow him to go on holiday over social media.

Christopher (20) was beaten to death in Twinbrook last December. Police believe up to 20 people were involved.

Three teenagers have been charged with the murder.

On Monday, 18-year-old Stephen McCann from Bearnagh Glen in Belfast had bail restrictions lifted to allow him to go on holiday.

A 16-year-old boy, who cannot be named because of his age and 18-year-old Lee Smyth, from Colinbrook Gardens in west Belfast are also accused of the murder of Mr Meli.

District Judge Rosie Watters agreed to lift conditions which order McCann to observe a curfew, stay at home and report to police three times a week but he is still barred from contacting either his co-accused or witnesses.

Speaking to the BBC Christopher Meli's parents said they found out about the changes to McCann's bail over social media.

Christopher Meli senior said: "I just want to know when the court case is going to be on so we can find out what is going on, how it is progressing and what direction it is going."

Police said there was a delay in providing the family with an update on the case which they will discuss with the family as well as offering a personal apology.

The officer leading the investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Richard Campbell, said: “A dedicated Family Liaison Officer has been appointed to keep the Meli family fully informed about developments in the investigation since last December.

"Unfortunately, earlier this week there was an oversight which led to a delay in information being provided to the family about a variation in bail conditions for one of the defendants charged with Christopher’s murder.

"Bail is a matter for the court, not police, but the delay in providing the family with an update is unacceptable and should not have happened.

"I appreciate how important it is for families to be kept informed and police apologise for this oversight.

"I will be contacting the family today to arrange a meeting to discuss their concerns and offer a personal apology.”

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