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Dealer abducted by trio over missing drugs, court is told

By Donal McMahon

Published 21/01/2016

Three Newry men have been charged with kidnapping and threatening a drug dealer over missing merchandise
Three Newry men have been charged with kidnapping and threatening a drug dealer over missing merchandise

Three Newry men have been charged with kidnapping and threatening a drug dealer over missing merchandise.

Stephen McCabe (30), of Mourneview Park; Brendan McEvoy (23), of Maginnis Street, and Stephen McEvoy (22), of Mourneview Park, are alleged to have taken the man from his home on January 17.

The trio, who were arrested overnight, appeared before Newry Magistrates Court yesterday further charged with blackmail, arson and burglary with intent to damage property.

Objecting to bail, a detective constable said he could connect the men to the charges.

The court heard that the alleged injured party went to police on January 18 and said he had been kidnapped the night before. He claimed three men had told him they would burn down his house, break his arms and legs and leave him "without a tooth in his head" if he did not pay off a debt.

The court was told a drug gang had given the man 5,000 diazepam and cannabis to sell, but he returned the drugs after being unable to get rid of them.

A detective claimed the drug dealer was then approached by the defendants, who said some of the drugs were missing and gave him a day to pay £3,000.

As the man was giving a statement to police at the station, two males allegedly entered his house and took a TV before setting the property alight as another man allegedly waited outside.

The wife of the alleged injured party reportedly received texts from the trio in advance of the attack on their home.

A prosecution lawyer told the court a message from Stephen McEvoy at 8.39pm to the wife of the alleged victim read: "Is D ok, they had a gun. FA I could do."

A defence lawyer cross-examined the detective and asked if he was aware that Stephen McCabe had made counter allegations involving Facebook messages from the injured party to his mother.

Counsel added that Stephen McEvoy had been at his own home at the time of his arrest, had an alibi in his girlfriend, and that he denied all the allegations against him.

District Judge Eamonn King refused the bail application because of a risk of interference with witnesses and reoffending.

"The background to this case involves allegations of violence and retribution," said Mr King.

"There is a fear from the police that the situation may escalate."

The case was adjourned until February 17 when the defendants will appear via video-link at the same court.

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