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Pair accused of trying to kill loyalist in gang bar attack denied bail

By Alan Erwin

Two men accused of trying to murder a former leading loyalist in a bar attack must remain in custody, a judge ruled.

David Rush (34) and David Gibson (44) were refused bail amid allegations they were part of a 10-strong gang that battered Darren Moore with weapons in Doagh, Co Antrim, last week.

Police said he was specifically targeted in a vicious assault that inflicted multiple head fractures, facial lacerations and a puncture wound to his stomach.

Belfast Magistrates' Court also heard yesterday that two days after the attack, a house he previously lived in was ransacked and damaged in a suspected case of mistaken identity.

Rush, from Ballyvesey Green, and Gibson, of Milewater Drive - both Newtownabbey - are charged with attempted murder.

Rush also faces a further count of possessing a wooden baton with intent to commit an indictable offence.

CCTV footage allegedly links both men to the attack at McConnell's Bar on March 15.

Moore, in his 40s and formerly of the Mount Vernon area of Belfast, has been under threat from loyalist paramilitaries, according to investigating detectives.

He was having a drink when up to 10 men entered and launched the assault before escaping in cars.

Baseball bats, hammers and pickaxe handles were among the weapons said to have been used.

Opposing bail, a detective sergeant claimed there was a continued risk to Moore's life.

"It was not a chance of random encounter - he was specifically targeted," he said.

District Judge Ken Nixon was told Moore was the intended target in a separate attack on a house in Broughshane, Co Antrim, last Friday.

It was confirmed that he had since been released from hospital.

He has named a third man to be charged with the attempted murder, 27-year-old Aaron Cahoon, of Fairhill Gardens in Newtownabbey.

During cross-examination, defence lawyer Donal McConnell put it to the detective that Rush and Gibson were only identified by police officers who viewed the CCTV recordings.

Mr McConnell also stressed that the man said to be Gibson in the footage did not throw punches or wield any weapons.

The detective replied: "We would say all 10 went with a common purpose, everyone there was on a joint enterprise."

Denying bail to both accused, Mr Nixon cited the risk of re-offending.

They were remanded in custody to appear again next month.

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