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Eamonn Magee Jnr murder: Turkish barman Orhan Koca remanded over boxer's death

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

Published 02/06/2015

Former WBU welterweight champion Eamonn Magee Sr (left) arrives at Craigavon Magistrates Court to see Orhan Koca, who is charged with the murder of his son Eamonn Magee Jr
Former WBU welterweight champion Eamonn Magee Sr (left) arrives at Craigavon Magistrates Court to see Orhan Koca, who is charged with the murder of his son Eamonn Magee Jr
Eamonn Magee Jnr died in a knife attack in West Belfast (PSNI/PA Wire)

Turkish national Orhan Koca has been remanded in custody charged with murdering the son of a former boxing champion.

There were emotional scenes at Craigavon Magistrates' Court when the 32-year-old barman appeared in the dock.

Eamonn Magee Jnr, 22, was stabbed to death as he went to check on a pizza delivery in the early hours of Saturday morning.

His father Eamonn Magee Snr, a former WBU welterweight title holder, was supported in court by a large crowd.

As Koca was led from the dock, the boxer made an emotional outburst aimed at the defendant.

Earlier, District Judge Des Perry had warned he would clear the court if the hearing was disrupted.

He said: "If proceedings are disrupted in any way, understand this is a very, very emotional situation, I will have no hesitation in clearing the court."

Koca, who has no fixed abode, spoke to confirm his name and that he understood the murder charge against him.

Mr Magee, who had followed his father into the boxing ring and had a promising career ahead of him, was also studying engineering at university.

Police believe his killer lay in wait while he visited a friend's house in the Summerhill Park area of West Belfast.

The court was told Koca, a father of three young children, had consistently denied murder from the moment of his arrest and throughout 19 police interviews.

Defence solicitor Eamon O'Connor said he intended to apply for bail in four weeks' time.

He said: "There is a full acknowledgement that this was a truly horrific crime. To have a child taken away in such brutal circumstances is the worst thing that can happen to a parent."

Koca, who was dressed in a grey tracksuit, sat in the dock with his arms folded and was flanked between two prison guards. At times, he looked towards Mr Magee Snr.

He answered loudly and clearly "Yes" when asked by the court clerk to confirm his identity.

A Police Service of Northern Ireland officer told the court he believed he could connect the accused to the charge. Detective Inspector Darren McCartney also revealed that the suspected murder weapon had been found and had been sent for forensic analysis.

A prosecutor said bail would be opposed in all circumstances.

However Mr O'Connor said his client, who has lived in Northern Ireland for two and a half years, insisted he had "nothing to do" with the killing and would vigorously contest bail.

Koca did not pose a flight risk as his passport was with the Home Office in Liverpool and he would "never travel" away from his three beloved children, the solicitor claimed.

Mr O'Connor added: "It is fully accepted this is a most serious criminal offence."

A number of public order police officers lined the inside the courtroom for the duration of the brief hearing.

Remanding Koca into custody the judge appealed for the forensics lab to deal with the high profile case expeditiously.

Judge Perry said: "I am remanding you to appear in Lisburn via video link on June 29."

The judge also ordered a Turkish interpreter to attend the next court hearing.

He said: "The court will want to ensure a belt and braces approach to ensure that if there are any issues they can be dealt with."

The case was adjourned until June 29.

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