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Cookstown gun attack investigation hindered by accused's self-imposed exile, says judge as he refuses bail

A man being hunted for five months over a shooting in Co Tyrone was detained after "taking a chance" to attend a boxing event, the High Court heard on Monday.

Connair Bloomer, 26, now faces a charge of attempted murder over the gun attack on a man at a house in Cookstown.

The 35-year-old victim was shot in the legs after two men wearing balaclavas entered the property in the Drumcree area of the town on June 5.

Prosecutors claimed Bloomer, of Drum Road in Cookstown, was identified by a witness at the scene.

He faces further charges of aggravated burglary and possession of a firearm in suspicious circumstances in connection with the same incident.

A second man has also been charged with the attempted murder and other related offences.

Bloomer was not arrested until November 5, with the court told he allegedly left Northern Ireland after the shooting.

Crown lawyer Natalie Pinkerton also claimed two applications for Irish passports were made during the period police were looking for him.

Rejecting defence submissions about potential delay in progressing the case, Mr Justice Burgess asked: "Your client takes himself off for five months, how do police interview him?

"(He) took a chance to come back for a boxing match and got it wrong. After the boxing match he would have gone back again."

The judge also dismissed the offer of a £5,000 cash surety from the accused's mother, telling her he was not prepared to put her money at risk.

Refusing bail, he added: "This investigation hasn't been helped, in fact it's been no doubt hindered by Mr Bloomer's self-imposed exile from this jurisdiction."

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