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Hammer killing accused was heard threatening murdered man weeks earlier, court told

By Asheligh McDonald

Published 13/09/2016

A man accused of bludgeoning another man to death with a claw hammer was heard issuing a threat to kill the victim just weeks before he was murdered, a court has heard
A man accused of bludgeoning another man to death with a claw hammer was heard issuing a threat to kill the victim just weeks before he was murdered, a court has heard

A man accused of bludgeoning another man to death with a claw hammer was heard issuing a threat to kill the victim just weeks before he was murdered, a court has heard.

North Belfast man Eamonn Ferguson was struck up to 20 times with a hammer in the living room of a house at Ardoyne Place in March 2014.

Two men charged with the murder - Louis Maguire (28) and 33 year old Christopher Power - are currently standing trial at Belfast Crown Court.

As the trial entered its second week, a witness told the jury of six men and six women that a few weeks before Mr Ferguson's murder, he heard Louis Maguire say he was looking for Mr Ferguson and was going to kill him.

Keith Byrne said he knew Maguire, Power and Mr Ferguson and said that around February 28, 2014, he had a conversation with Maguire - who was displaying facial injuries - in the centre of Belfast.

Mr Byrne told the jury: "I asked him (Maguire) what happened to his face and he said he had an argument with Eamonn Ferguson and Eamonn had hit him or beaten him.

"A couple of seconds later, he produced a screwdriver from somewhere, and the words he used, the exact wording he used, was, 'When I get Eamonn Ferguson I am going to f****** kill him.'

"They were the words. It was over the beating. That's what he said. It was over the hiding he was given."

Mr Byrne said at first, he laughed at the threat and didn't take it seriously. When asked why, he said that Maguire was around 5ft 5ins, Mr Ferguson was around 6ft 1ins and he "sniggered it off" because "Eamonn would squash Louis like a can of Coke."

When asked if Mr Ferguson would have been able to handle himself if Maguire tackled him face-on, Mr Byrnealy replied: "Without a weapon involved, yeah."

Mr Byrne was also asked to describe the relationship between Mr Ferguson and Christopher Power. He said there was "no friction" between the two men, and said "they were very close friends."

Both Maguire, whose address was given as HMP Maghaberry, and Christopher Power, a Traveller of no fixed abode and who is originally from Co Offaly, have denied involvement in the murder of Mr Ferguson.

The jury has already heard that all three men had been drinking in the centre of Belfast together on Friday, March 14, before getting a taxi back to Maguire's Ardoyne Place home.

In the early hours of the following morning, neighbours of Maguire's were woken by the sounds of him trying to kick his own front door in.

He was then seen walking round the back of his house before returning to the front, hysterical and screaming that his mate Eamonn was lying dead in his living room.

Both Maguire and Power - described in court as both a street fighter and a street drinker - were drunk and detained at the scene.

Earlier yesterday, a forensics officer who attended the scene at Ardoyne Place and examined several items in the aftermath of the murder was called to give evidence.

She examined blood spatters and blood distribution in the living room, as well as blood-stained clothes which Maguire and Power were wearing when they were arrested.

She examined blood spatters and blood distribution in the living room, as well as blood-stained clothes which Maguire and Power were wearing when they were arrested.

The expert told the jury that the distribution of blood at the scene revealed that Mr Ferguson - whose blood-soaked body was found in a kneeling position with his head resting on the sofa - didn't move when he was attacked.

She also concluded that due to the pattern of projected blood staining on Maguire's clothing, it was her opinion Maguire was present in the living room when the blood was airborne.

The jury also heard that blood-staining found on Power's clothing - including a sock and his tracksuit bottoms - could be consistent with him walking on a wet blood while not wearing shoes, then putting his tracksuit bottoms on.

The forensic scientist also confirmed that there was no projected blood on Power's clothing.

At hearing.

Belfast Telegraph

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