Belfast Telegraph

Uproar in court as three appear on murder charge

By Adrian Rutherford

Anger erupted in a courtroom yesterday as a father and his two sons were remanded in custody charged with the murder of Philip Strickland.

Abuse was hurled by a man as the three accused were led from the dock.

Jimmy Seales and his sons Jason Weir and Ian Hugh Weir are all charged with murdering 36-year-old Mr Strickland, who was shot dead outside Comber last week.

All three are accused of having a shotgun with intent to endanger life.

Seales, a 54-year-old farmer from Ballykeel Road near Hillsborough, is further charged with threatening to kill another man.

There was a heavy security presence at Newtownards Magistrates Court, with police standing guard inside and outside court ahead of the suspects' appearance.

Before they were led into the dock, District Judge Mark Hamill warned that any outburst from the public gallery would see the culprits ejected from the court.

Jason Weir (24), from Raffery Road near Killinchy, wore a grey tracksuit while Ian Hugh Weir (26), from Derryboye Road, Killinchy, was dressed in a red T-shirt and jeans.

Seales was wearing a red T-shirt and dark jumper.

They listened as a detective sergeant told the court that he believed he could connect them to the charges.

A defence solicitor said there would be no application for bail at this point. All three men were remanded back into custody to reappear via video-link on February 14.

So far, 12 people have been arrested in connection with Mr Strickland's death.

Last night police charged a 21-year-old woman with perverting the course of justice. She is due in court this morning.

A 20-year-old woman who was arrested yesterday was released pending a report, and a 21-year-old man, also arrested yesterday, was released. All three are believed to be from Co Down.

On Monday North Lucas (44), from Ballycreely Road near Comber, appeared in court accused of assisting offenders over the killing. Another two men aged 19 and 32 have been released pending reports to the Public Prosecution Service. A 44-year-old woman was released on bail, while two other women aged 19 and 21 were released without charge.

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