Belfast Telegraph

Arrest of missing hit-and-run death accused imminent, court told

By Staff Reporter

A man wanted in connection with the death of a teenager killed in a hit-and-run remains at large, although his apprehension may be imminent, a court has heard.

Lesley-Anne McCarragher was struck by a vehicle at Monaghan Road, Armagh, in April 2016.

A European Arrest Warrant for Damien Paul McCann is live, but a second warrant must be signed off in the Republic, and this is also close, it emerged yesterday. The 20-year-old, of Monaghan Road, is a co-accused in the case.

The update came from police who attended a review hearing in the case at Armagh Magistrates Court.

A prosecuting lawyer explained McCann "will hopefully be joined" to the case within weeks and it is anticipated his location will be known to the court shorty.

Nathan Finn (18), of Keady Road, Armagh, is alleged to have caused Lesley-Anne's death by dangerous driving on April 9 last year, as well as causing death while uninsured and without a driving licence.

His case is ready for transfer to Crown Court for trial, but it cannot move in absence of the co-accused.

However, a defence solicitor for Finn expressed concerns.

He said: "My client is on very strict bail terms for some duration and the case is hanging over his head. I believe he should be committed for trial and the indictments should be split.

"Obviously the bail restrictions and the case itself is causing my client and his family a huge amount of distress." But District Judge Paul Copeland said: "In the absence of the co-accused at this point I do not feel it is in the interests of justice to separate the cases. I also do not feel there is inappropriate or disproportionate impact on the defendant (Finn.)

"Justice in my view requires both to be tried together.

"From what the court has heard today, apprehending of the co-accused may well be imminent."

The case was adjourned for an update later this month.

Unlike Finn, who was arrested, charged and appeared in court at the outset, McCann is not on bail. Finn remains on continuing strict bail.

Lesley-Anne's parents and other family members were seated in the public gallery for the hearing.

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