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Man accused of Paul Smyth shotgun murder refused bail

Court told he is 'extremely violent' and has attacked prison officers


Shooting: James McVeigh (pictured) who has been accused of murdering Paul Smyth

Shooting: James McVeigh (pictured) who has been accused of murdering Paul Smyth

Paul Smyth

Paul Smyth

Shooting: James McVeigh (pictured) who has been accused of murdering Paul Smyth

A man described as "extremely violent" who is accused of a shotgun murder was refused bail yesterday.

Refusing to free 30-year-old James McVeigh, Deputy District Judge Liam McStay said he shared police concerns about the risks of further offences and witness interference.

As it stands four men are facing charges arising from the murder of Paul Smyth and the attempted murder of a couple a few days later in June last year.

Lisburn men James Holmes (33), from Lawnmount Crescent and 30-year-old James McVeigh, from Ward Avenue, are in custody jointly accused of the murder of Mr Smyth on June 19 and with the attempted murder of a couple and possessing a shotgun and ammunition with intent on June 23.

A third man, 30-year-old James Robert Stewart from the Ballybog Road in Dunmurry, is also in custody accused of two counts of attempted murder and possessing a shotgun with intent to endanger life.

Ryan Megarry (37) with an address at Church Street in Portstewart, faces a single count of encouraging or assisting in an act believing that an offence will be committed on June 18 last year.

The particulars of the offence allege that Megarry, with an address at Church Street in Portstewart, used his car "for reconnaissance in Coulson Avenue and identified the victim to the other parties involved which was capable of encouraging or assisting the commission of one or more of a number of offences, namely robbery or murder, believing that one or more of those offences would be committed (but having no belief as to which)."

The offences arise following the murder of Mr Smyth who was blasted in the chest with a shotgun in his flat at Coulson Avenue.

During an unsuccessful application when Holmes and McVeigh first appeared last year, a police officer recounted how a friend of Mr Smyth was concerned for him as she "had not seen him for a few days" so had called to his home at Coulson Avenue in Lisburn.

Finding his front door closed but unlocked, the woman went inside to find Mr Smyth's body "slumped on the sofa, covered in blood."

A post mortem examination revealed he had died from a shotgun wound to the chest.

She said that from police investigations into Mr Smyth's phone and laptop, police believe he was murdered between 2am and 3am on Wednesday, June 19.

The court has also heard that double attempted murder relates to an incident at a house on Mill Street in the city on June 23 when the householder had been woken by his dog barking and looked outside to see a masked man who asked him about a named male who once lived in the property. It was during that exchange that according to the police case, a second male carrying a single barrelled shotgun "came around the side of the house" and fired a shot through the window, smashing it.

The female victim told police that despite the fact the men were masked, she named Holmes and McVeigh as the men who attacked her home. .

A forensic examination of the shotgun wadding recovered from Mr Smyth's chest allegedly matches wadding found at the Mill Street incident "as coming from the same gun" and the police have claimed that CCTV footage places Holmes and McVeigh in and around both scenes at the time of the respective incidents.

In court on Monday a police officer testified that with McVeigh having a reputation as being "extremely violent," the proposed bail address in Antrim is not suitable, adding that witnesses in the case are "in extreme fear."

He revealed that while in prison, McVeigh "has attacked prison officers and has encouraged other inmates to attack prison officers" so police had concerns about the risks he would pose if freed.

Defence counsel Peter Coiley lamented the fact that McVeigh has been in custody since he first appeared and how there had been "a certain amount of stagnation" in the case progressing, arguing that along with "the presumption of innocence," bail could be granted "with the most stringent package".

DDJ McStay refused to free McVeigh remanding him into custody to October 5

Belfast Telegraph