Belfast Telegraph

Man killed in 'trivial' row with friends at drug-fuelled Antrim house gathering, court told

Niall Magee
Niall Magee

By Alan Erwin

A father-of-one was allegedly knifed to death after a "trivial" row among friends escalated at a drug-fuelled house gathering, the High Court has heard.

A judge was told Niall Magee, 21, was slashed suddenly at the property in Crumlin, Co Antrim last month.

Details emerged as bail was refused to a 29-year-old man said to have been in the house on Cairn Walk on Friday.

Derek Armstrong, of Olympia Drive in Belfast, is not accused of any offences connected to the killing of Mr Magee.

At the time he was on bail facing charges of robbery, attempted robbery, possession of an offensive weapon and common assault over alleged incidents in February and March.

The court heard police called to the stabbing in Crumlin on April 27 located Armstrong near the house.

Prosecutor Natalie Pinkerton said he had blood on him, and that his medical card was found inside the Cairn Walk address.

"There was significant drug usage and alcohol found in that property," she added.

Another man, 26-year-old Michael McManus, of Cairn Walk in Crumlin, is charged with Mr Magee's murder.

Armstrong was returned to custody over alleged breaches of his release conditions.

His barrister, Joe Brolly, insisted he fully co-operated with detectives investigating the killing.

"There is no suggestion he was involved in anything, apart from being traumatised and taken to hospital," counsel said.

The court was told another of those at the house had "exonerated" Armstrong.

Mr Brolly said a legal colleague had described it as "the most traumatic scene he has ever come across".

He claimed that the situation "became very grave, very quickly".

The barrister went on: "All of these young men were close friends; it appears at some point in time there was quite a trivial row between the group who was present."

Mr Magee then allegedly received a sudden and fatal knife wound, the court heard.

Refusing bail, Mr Justice McAlinden pointed out that Armstrong was previously released on the basis that he seeks help for drug addiction issues.

The judge said: "What I do have is proof he was present in a house where drugs were taken and someone gets slashed in the throat and dies."

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