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Man remanded on father murder charge

Published 29/09/2016

Police and forensic officers at the scene of an incident in the Limehurst Way area of Lisburn on September 25th 2016 , Northern Ireland (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Police and forensic officers at the scene of an incident in the Limehurst Way area of Lisburn on September 25th 2016 , Northern Ireland (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The man appeared at Lisburn Magistrates' Court

A 44-year-old Co Antrim man has been remanded into custody charged with murdering his father.

Gerard Mulligan, of Lisburn Square, Lisburn, appeared before a judge at the city's magistrates' court.

He was arrested after the body of pensioner Gerald Mulligan was found in the boot of car outside his home in the Limehurst Way area of Lisburn on Monday.

The court heard that Mulligan allegedly told police he had struck his father on the head with a breeze block.

A Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) detective sergeant said: "Interviews were very, very limited given the condition of the defendant but he does admit striking in some way his father with a breeze block.

"Whether that was intentional or not, we never got a chance to press that."

It was further alleged that Mulligan told his partner he had killed his father when she called at the house and found him covered in blood.

The police officer added: "The partner asked where did the blood come from? He said 'I've murdered my dad and he's in the boot of the Tigra'.

"The Tigra is a car she owned."

Throughout the 20-minute hearing, bearded and heavy-set Mulligan sat with his head bowed. He was dressed in a grey round neck sweater with dark trousers.

He spoke only to confirm his identity and nodded when asked if he understood the single murder charge levied against him.

The PSNI detective told the court he believed he could connect Mulligan to the alleged offence. Details of the case were outlined as police objected t o a bail application from the defence.

The court heard Mulligan had gone to his father's house to fix a car. When Mr Mulligan Snr returned from Dublin a heated argument ensued, it was claimed.

The PSNI officer added: "There was contact with a breeze block on his father's head."

He had "panicked" and put the remains in the car, the court heard.

It emerged Mulligan overdosed on prescription medication in the wake of the incident and was taken to hospital before being brought into police custody.

He was also taken under armed police guard for psychiatric assessment at Belfast's Mater Hospital, the court was told.

As a result of his condition, three separate police interviews had to be terminated after a matter of minutes.

Police objections to bail included the risk of committing further offences; intimidation of witnesses and failure to turn up for trial.

However, challenging the objections, defence barrister Feargal MacElhatton said: "He has roots, he lives in this community. He's 44 years of age.

"Conditions can be imposed so he can seek treatment in relation to his mental health issues. There is a presumption of innocence."

Refusing bail, District Judge Rosemary Watters said she was concerned about the potential to interfere with witnesses.

The judge added: "If convicted the defendant will be sentenced to life so there is always a residual fear that he will not turn up for trial but that is not my primary concern."

The judge said another bail application could be lodged with the High Court.

As Mulligan was led from the dock, a close relative made an emotional outburst.

The case was adjourned until October 24.

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