Belfast Telegraph

No Christmas party for tree surgeon accused of murder

BY MICHAEL DONNELLY

A tree surgeon accused of murder has been allowed to vary his bail conditions, but refused permission to go to a Christmas party, while his soldier co-accused was refused bail altogether.

Belfast Crown Court heard that 23-year-old Gareth McKinney, originally with an address at Charles Park, Portadown, claims that his co-accused Michael Wilson, also 23, from Marlacoo Road, Tandragee, was the attacker of 30-year-old Lee Smyth in the early hours of June 6, 2010.

Although he survived the brutal attack in which his head was jumped on as if it were "a trampoline", he was left in a vegetative state, and following two years in a coma it was decided to halt his treatment.

He subsequently died on June 12, 2012.

Mr Justice Weir allowed McKinney to return to live with his parents in Armagh, and to reduce his reporting to police from three times a week to twice.

Mr Justice Weir had just refused Wilson fresh bail.

His original bail was revoked last month following three separate breaches.

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