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Lurgan man charged with Malcolm McKeown murder granted bail

Malcolm McKeown

A man charged with the suspected gangland murder of Malcolm McKeown has been granted High Court bail.

Jake O'Brien, 24, is allegedly linked to the shooting in Waringstown, Co Down last year by DNA on a glove found close to a getaway car.

A judge ruled today that he can be released from custody once a £5,000 cash surety is lodged.

McKeown, 54, was shot six times in the head and body at a petrol station on August 19.

Police have said the killing is tied in with a drugs-related feud between rival criminal groups.

O'Brien, of Rectory Park in Lurgan, Co Armagh, is one of two men charged with his murder. He denies involvement in the attack.

McKeown was found dead in his car parked on Main Street, the court heard.

Prosecutors said CCTV footage shows a Volkswagen Passat speeding away from the garage within a minute of the shooting.

About ten minutes later that car was set on fire, with two men in boiler suits viewed running away.

Four police officers have examined the CCTV footage and identified O'Brien as being one of the pair.

A Crown lawyer also contended that black latex gloves were later recovered on a route away from the Passat.

Forensic tests carried out on them revealed a firearm particle and a positive match for O'Brien's DNA, according to the prosecution.

In police interviews the defendant denied it was him on the footage.

He confirmed that he worked with vehicles and carried gloves in his van.

O'Brien allegedly stated that his gloves may have blown away because he is untidy.

Michael Forde, defending, argued that his client faced only a weak, circumstantial case.

The barrister also cited potential delay in proceedings, suggesting there was unlikely to be any trial before 2021.

Granting bail for O'Brien to live at an undisclosed address, Lord Justice McCloskey also banned him from entering Lurgan or Waringstown.

He confirmed the case will be reviewed again in four weeks time.

Belfast Telegraph