Belfast Telegraph

Leslie-Ann McCarragher death trial held up as co-accused is 'evading police'

By Staff Reporter

One of the men accused of causing the death of Armagh teen Lesley-Ann McCarragher is "actively evading police" and holding up the trial, a court has heard.

Lesley-Ann was jogging along the Monaghan Road in Armagh on April 9, 2016, when she was struck by a vehicle which did not stop at the scene. Despite being airlifted to hospital, the 19-year-old passed away.

Eighteen-year-old Nathan Finn, of Keady Road, Armagh, and 30-year-old Damien Paul McCann, of Monaghan Road, Armagh, are alleged to have caused Lesley-Ann's death by dangerous driving, as well as causing death while uninsured drivers.

Nathan was in the dock on Tuesday as his case is ready to proceed. However, police are in the process of requesting a European arrest warrant for McCann.

A prosecution lawyer advised that the scheduled committal hearing to transfer the case to trial at Crown Court was not in a position to proceed, due to the continued absence of the co-accused. She added: "I appreciate the distress this is causing the family but in the interests of justice it is appropriate to send both men for trial together as opposed to splitting them up."

She then called a detective sergeant to the witness box to outline the current status of the case. Referred to in court simply as "the co-accused", the detective said, "This man is actively evading police and not making himself available. Despite extensive, valiant efforts to apprehend him, he remains at large."

The detective explained that since the last court hearing, a European Arrest Warrant has been applied for, and is in the process of being granted as a matter of urgency. She stated: "This will enable the details of the co-accused to be circulated widely and allow his arrest on sight."

District Judge Amanda Brady noted the presence of Lesley-Ann's family in court, and added: "It is very regrettable as there cannot be further delay without further distress. I am confident all is being done which can be done to expedite this matter. The distress this is causing is acknowledged by all."

The overall case was adjourned for a fortnight to monitor the status of the European Arrest Warrant, and in preparation for Finn to seek an amendment to current bail terms, which is to be "vehemently opposed" by police.

Belfast Telegraph

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