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Man accused of murdering Eamonn O’Hanlon told police he ‘didn’t mean for any of this to happen’, court told


Victim: Eamonn O’Hanlon

Victim: Eamonn O’Hanlon

Victim: Eamonn O’Hanlon

A man has been remanded in custody charged with the murder of a man in Co Down at the weekend.

Eamonn Darren O'Hanlon was stabbed on Hill Street in Gilford in the early hours of Saturday, and later died from his injuries.

Frank McAlinden yesterday appeared at Newry Magistrates Court via videolink from Lurgan PSNI station.

A police officer said she could connect the 25-year-old with the stabbing in Gilford on Saturday.

She said three people were arrested and interviewed, but were released unconditionally after McAlinden handed himself into a police station and "accepted responsibility for the offence and having stabbed Mr O'Hanlon once in the chest area .. which caused the fatal injury".

Mr McAlinden, who had been working in England prior to returning home to Gilford where the offence took place, gave his address as the Bell Inn, in Cross Houses, Shrewsbury.

Police received a call from the ambulance service at around 2.55am on Saturday that a man had suffered a serious stab wound and attended the incident.

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Mr O’Hanlon was treated at the scene and later rushed to hospital but died from his injuries.

In the meantime, the defendant handed himself in to Lurgan police station and made admissions.

He is charged with murder and possession of an offensive weapon – a knife.

A police officer said when the charges were read to Mr McAlinden, he replied: “I am sorry I didn’t mean for any of this to happen.”

Mr McAlinden spoke only to confirm his name and age, and responded "yeah" when asked if he understood the charges he is facing.

No application for bail was made and he was remanded to appear again at Banbridge court on June 16, via videolink.

The 37-year-old victim was stabbed once in the chest outside a house in Gilford on Saturday.

Mr O’Hanlon was known to police and had recently been released from prison.

Originally from north Belfast, the victim, known as ‘Spud’, had been living in the village for a number of years.

Mr O’Hanlon was recently freed on licence, after serving two years of a four-year sentence for setting fire to his ex-partner’s home.

Court hearings were told that he even tried to stop the woman from fleeing the blaze at her flat in Newry in February 2018.

He poured a flammable liquid over her sofa, set it alight and held her back when she tried to run to a window.

When he was sentenced at Newry Crown Court in October 2019, having pleaded guilty to a charge of arson, Judge Gordon Kerr QC said the victim spent three days on a life support machine.

Mr O’Hanlon was released in 2020 but had his licence revoked after he was convicted of headbutting a woman outside her home in Gilford in July of that year.

He was sentenced to five months in jail after a hearing at Craigavon Magistrates Court, and was only re-granted his licence earlier this month.

Mr McAlinden will appear in court again in four weeks’ time in connection with the murder.

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