Belfast Telegraph

Colin Doherty nephew remanded further after failure to find bail address outside Coleraine area

A Coleraine man charged with attempting to cause grievous bodily harm to his 56-year-old uncle Colin Doherty and possessing a hammer as an offensive weapon on the same date Mr Doherty was found dead, was further remanded in custody on Monday.

Matthew Andrew Stirling (25), of Tullyarton Road, appeared at the town's Magistrates Court last week and was remanded in custody amid efforts to see if he could get an address outside the Coleraine area.

However, when Stirling appeared at the same court via video link from prison on Monday, defence solicitor Ciaran Shiels said despite attempts by the accused's father an address outside of the district had not been found.

Stirling was remanded further and will appear at court again on January 9.

Colin Doherty was found dead in the Silverthorn Avenue area of the Harpur's Hill estate in Coleraine on Tuesday of last week and a huge police operation got underway.

On Wednesday police said the death was no longer being treated as suspicious, following a post-mortem.

Last Thursday's court hearing was told Stirling, a nephew of the deceased, faced a charge that on Tuesday December 13 he unlawfully attempted to cause grievous bodily harm to Colin Doherty.

He faced a second charge of being in possession of an offensive weapon, namely a hammer, with intent to commit an offence.

Defence for Stirling asked the detective to confirm if the pathologist had concluded their examination on Mr Doherty, which he said they had.

The defence lawyer added: “Am I correct in thinking that the three small marks on the left hand side of Mr Doherty’s head did not contribute to his death?”

It was agreed by the police officer that "chronic alcoholism" was the conclusive cause of death.

Defence alleged to the court that any evidence was circumstantial and based on accounts of hearsay.  The officer said he had three witness accounts.

The court heard that under interview Stirling strongly denied being in Mr Doherty’s house on the day in question; said he never struck him; never saw him and that Mr Doherty "was family".

Defence added that he had been instructed not to apply for bail until after the deceased’s funeral due to a "certain amount of tension" in the area and the witnesses and family of the accused living in such close proximity.

At last week's court, District Judge Liam McNally said that in the circumstances he would remand Stirling in custody until Monday December 19.

He said a bail application could be made then but the judge added that a bail address in the Coleraine area wouldn’t be considered.

Requiem Mass for Mr Doherty was held in St Malachy's Church, Coleraine, followed by interment in Coleraine Cemetery on Saturday.


From Belfast Telegraph