Belfast Telegraph

Karol Kelly: Murder accused 'slashed' Derry man across face with knife, court told

Karol Kelly
Karol Kelly

By George Jackson

One of three men charged with the murder of a Londonderry father has admitted to police that he slashed the victim in the face, a court has heard.

Karol Kelly (35) was stabbed to death after an assault at a house party in Rosemount in the city in March 2018.

A prosecution barrister said that Sean Anderson had admitted slashing Mr Kelly with a kitchen knife and also made a swiping movement with the knife towards Mr Kelly’s waist area.

The disclosure was made during a failed bail application by Anderson (21) from Grafton Street in Derry.

He, his brother Gary Anderson (20), also from Grafton Street, and Michael Dunlop (18), from Strabane, are in custody jointly charged with murdering Mr Kelly on March 4 last year.

Defence barrister Eoghan Devlin told Judge Philip Babington that although a bail address was not currently available to Sean Anderson, he believed the defendant could be granted bail subject to a suitable bail address outside of Derry being approved by police.

Opposing the bail application, a prosecution barrister said the allegation against Sean Anderson was that following an altercation with Mr Kelly and a second man in a house in Grafton Street, the defendant and his brother went into the kitchen.

He said: “Sean Anderson is alleged to have armed himself with a knife. The two people who had left the house, including Karol Kelly, were pursued and witnesses saw Mr Kelly being pushed by the defendant Dunlop and falling to the ground.

“This applicant then assaulted Karol Kelly on the ground and continued to assault him. The defendant Dunlop said Mr Kelly had had enough and he pulled the applicant away.

“After the incident all three returned to the house in Grafton Street. Karol Kelly died from knife wounds which had been inflicted on him.

“The applicant was arrested a short time later along with his brother Gary at their home address.

“During his interviews Sean Anderson admitted there was an altercation in his home involving Karol Kelly. He also admitted going to the kitchen, getting a knife and following Karol Kelly and a second man out and chasing them.

“He admitted making a slashing movement with the knife towards Karol Kelly and slashing him on the face and swiping the knife at Mr Kelly’s waist area.”

The barrister said that the police had strong objections to Sean Anderson being granted bail.

He said the applicant, along with his co-defendants, have had threats issued against them since the murder.

The prosecutor said the high-profile nature of the case had resulted in tensions running high,

He said police would be concerned for the applicant’s safety if he was released on bail.

He said police were also concerned about witness interference.

“Tensions in the area are still running high and the police have found it difficult to engage and to keep witnesses on board for fear of intimidation. The police believe that civilian witnesses identified may be interfered with”, the barrister said.

Defence barrister Eoghan Devlin said the applicant had twice been granted compassionate bail, in August last year and in May of this year, and had fully complied with his bail conditions.

He said the seriousness of the offence was not a necessary reason for a prohibition on bail.

Mr Devlin said that “associates of Mr Kelly and the defendant are currently in prison and there have been no issues in relation to interfering with witnesses.”

Refusing the bail application, Judge Babington said on balance he believed that the police concerns were genuine.

“It is obviously a very serious charge which the applicant faces,” he said.

“I note what he said in his police interviews. It is clear he was involved in this matter to some degree. Exactly what degree is a matter for a jury to consider in due course.”

The applicant was remanded back into custody pending his trial, which has been fixed for next May.

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