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Defendants accused of concocting lies over claw hammer murder

By Ashleigh McDonald

Published 07/09/2016

On trial: Louis Maguire
On trial: Louis Maguire

Two men standing trial for the claw hammer murder of a north Belfast man were yesterday accused of fabricating lies in the direct aftermath of the brutal killing.

Eamonn Ferguson died in the living room of a house in the Ardoyne area in March 2014.

Louis Maguire (28), whose address was given as HMP Maghaberry, and his co-accused Christopher Power (33), of no fixed abode and originally from Co Offaly, have both denied involvement in Mr Ferguson's murder.

However, a jury at Belfast Crown Court was yesterday told by a prosecution barrister that Mr Ferguson "died an unnatural death in a merciless attack at the hands of Louis Maguire and Christopher Power".

"They were present when he was slaughtered in the front living room of Louis Maguire's house," he added.

"They were in it together. They concocted a story, they lied at the scene and they lied in their police interviews."

Ciaran Murphy QC said it was the Crown's case that despite claims by the pair that they were not present when Mr Ferguson was attacked, forensic evidence, including blood spatters on their clothing, indicated they were in the room when the victim was repeatedly struck on the head with a claw hammer.

The jury heard that when the emergency services arrived, they discovered Mr Ferguson lying face down in a pool of blood with "unsurvivable" injuries. There were no signs of a struggle, and blood splattered across the walls, ceiling and floor.

Setting out the case, Mr Murphy said the alarm was raised in the early hours of Saturday, March 15, 2014, by Maguire.

He called 999 and said he had returned home to find his friend, Mr Ferguson, lying in a pool of blood in the living room of his Ardoyne Place home.

The emergency services arrived at around 3am, and Mr Ferguson was pronounced dead at the scene.

A police officer at the scene recalled seeing Maguire and Power standing outside the house and they were both later arrested on suspicion of murder.

Mr Murphy said the blood found on the clothing of both men was consistent with cast-off stains caused by, for example, the "exaggerated swings" of a hammer repeatedly striking the back of someone's head.

The trial continues.

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