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Police can't find suspect linked to warder murder

By Ashleigh McDonald

A senior judge has revoked the bail of a Co Tyrone man facing charges related to the murder of prison officer David Black.

Damien Joseph McLaughlin is due to stand trial next month on terror charges including supplying a car to dissident republicans who gunned down the warder as he drove to work on the M1 in November 2012.

McLaughlin (40), from Kilmascally Road in Dungannon, spent time on remand, but was granted bail in May 2014.

At a hearing yesterday, a Crown prosecutor informed Mr Justice Treacy that the accused was not living at his bail address in Belfast and had failed to report to police in November.

Admitting it was unclear whether or not McLaughlin had absconded ahead of his terror trial, the prosecutor asked that the defendant's bail be revoked immediately.

During the application, which was made at Belfast Crown Court, the Crown barrister said that when McLaughlin was initially granted bail, a series of conditions were imposed.

The stipulations included living at an address in Ardboe, Co Tyrone, adhering to a curfew, surrendering his passport, being tagged and signing in with police every day.

The bail conditions were subsequently varied, and his tag was removed and the signing in with police was reduced from every day to five days a week.

In addition, last March his bail address was changed and moved to west Belfast.

But the prosecutor said that when police later checked his newest bail address, the property seemed "to have effectively been cleared out".

The court also heard that when officers went to his other address in Ardboe, and those of family members, they made no progress in finding him.

It was additionally revealed that the people who provided sureties for the defendant, namely McLaughlin's uncles, were unable to help the authorities locate him.

When McLaughlin's legal team was questioned on the circumstances, his barrister replied he had nothing to say, after which Mr Justice Treacy told the court: "Bail is revoked."

McLaughlin is due to face a Diplock non-jury trial in February on terrorist charges including aiding and abetting the murder of Mr Black, possessing articles for use in terrorism and belonging to a proscribed organisation.

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