Kevin McDaid killing: Death trial duo plead guilty to lesser charges
Two men who were due to stand trial charged with killing Catholic community worker Kevin McDaid have pleaded guilty to lesser offences.
Mr McDaid collapsed and died after a group of loyalists launched a violent attack near his home in the Heights area of Coleraine in May 2009.
John Thompson (34), from Knocknougher Road in Macosquin, and Paul Newman (49), from Nursery Avenue in Ballymoney, initially faced a string of charges including manslaughter and attempted murder.
Legal teams for both men yesterday asked that the pair be rearraigned on several lesser charges.
Both Thompson and Newman pleaded guilty as a secondary party to causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Damien Fleming on May 24, 2009, and admitted assaulting Mr McDaid causing him actual bodily harm.
The pair also pleaded guilty to affray, while Thompson admitted damaging the window of a police vehicle.
The prosecutor said the Crown was accepting the pleas, and asked that the remaining charges against the men, including manslaughter and attempted murder, be left on the books.
Mr Justice Weatherup granted them continued bail and said "the defendants Thompson and Newman may leave the dock".
The pleas mean none of the nine defendents will now stand trial on the two most serious charges they initially faced – the manslaughter of Mr McDaid and the attempted murder of his friend Mr Fleming.