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Eamonn Magee murder: Jury sworn in for trial of Orhan Koca charged with killing young boxer

Accused denies murdering Eamonn Magee jnr in west Belfast

By Ashleigh McDonald

Published 07/06/2016

The accused, 33-year-old Orhan Koca
The accused, 33-year-old Orhan Koca
Eamonn Magee Snr arriving at court yesterday
Mary Magee arriving at court yesterday
Eamonn Jnr, who died last year

A jury of seven women and five men has been sworn in to preside in the trial of the man accused of murdering west Belfast boxer Eamonn Magee jnr.

The 22-year-old engineering student died on May 30 last year from stab wounds he sustained in an attack in the Twinbrook area of the city.

Orhan Koca, a Turkish national of no fixed abode, has been charged with murdering Mr Magee. The 33-year-old accused has denied the charge.

It took several hours to complete the swearing in of the jury at Craigavon Crown Court, sitting in Belfast. They were informed by Mr Justice Treacy that the trial may last up to four weeks.

Mr Justice Treacy also provided the jury with a brief background of the incident.

He said: "This case is about the alleged murder of Eamonn Magee on May 30, 2015 in the Summerhill Drive/Park area in Twinbrook in west Belfast.

"Eamonn Magee was at the home of his girlfriend, Courtney Ward, in Summerhill Drive. Courtney Ward was the wife of the defendant, and they had recently separated. The defendant was born in Turkey and he and Courtney Ward met and married there before they moved together to live in Northern Ireland."

The jury was also told that the deceased was the son of "well-known professional boxer" Eamonn Magee snr, and that at the time of his death Eamonn jnr was an engineering student at the Ulster University and also worked part-time as a personal trainer at Finaghy Gym. Like his father, he was also a boxer.

Regarding Koca, Mr Justice Treacy said that at the time, he worked in both Bennett's bar on the Stewartstown Road and also Mo's Turkish barbers in the Mount Eagle Square area of Lagmore. The jury also heard that Koca's children attended the local primary school.

During the selection process, the members were given a map of several locations central to the case, as well as a 22-itemed questionnaire to ensure that they knew nothing about the case.

The questions ranged from whether they knew anything about Mr Magee or his family - including his two brothers and sister - to whether they had any boxing associations, as the Judge said "Eamonn Magee snr and jnr are very well known in the world of boxing".

The jury was also asked whether they live, or have lived, or know anyone either in west Belfast or Ardoyne. The trial is expected to start on Thursday morning.

Belfast Telegraph

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