Belfast Telegraph

Ards murder accused Dalzell given bail for funeral despite earlier breaches

By Alan Erwin

An alleged murderer returned to custody after taking alcohol and going missing can be released again for his grandfather's funeral, a High Court judge has ruled.

Richard Dalzell was granted temporary compassionate bail, despite prosecution opposition based on a previous breach when he spent a number of days sleeping rough.

The 36-year-old denies a charge of murdering Mark Lamont in Coleraine last year.

Mr Lamont (54) died in hospital on October 11, two weeks after he was attacked at Ballycastle Road in the town.

At a previous hearing it was claimed that Dalzell, of Whinpark Road in Newtownards, Co Down, had been disturbed by the victim while having sex earlier that night.

Prosecutors said the accused spent the day leading up to the incident drinking with a woman at a bar in the town.

The pair were said to have left following a verbal altercation with three men, who included Mr Lamont and an ex-partner of the woman.

Dalzell went back to her home before intruders entered and found them having sex on the kitchen table, according to the prosecution.

He was granted High Court bail last October under conditions which included an alcohol prohibition and a ban on entering licensed premises.

Earlier this year he was first remanded back into custody for breaching those terms during a meal out with his partner.

Dalzell was re-admitted to bail in March, only to commit a further alleged breach three months later.

The court heard he took alcohol while at a friend's funeral and, realising he would fail a breath test, exited his address when police called to check on him.

At the time the PSNI confirmed it was trying to locate Dalzell and had informed Mr Lamont's family. Days later Dalzell was back behind bars after handing himself in to police.

Seeking temporary re-release for the family funeral in Newtownards today, defence counsel Mark Farrell insisted his client made no attempt to flee the country during the previous breach.

"He knew he was going to be arrested and made a very foolish decision to run out the back door," the barrister said.

"He didn't pack his bags, he was sleeping rough for a number of days."

Granting compassionate bail for the service, Mr Justice Treacy ordered Dalzell's sister to lodge a £1,000 cash surety and remain with him until his return to custody later the same day.

The judge also warned the accused: "If you come back to prison and are detected to have taken drink or drugs ... your sister will lose £1,000, apart from any consequences it would have for you."

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