Belfast Telegraph

Mark Lamont murder accused Richard Dalzell is a paramilitary, court told

By Nevin Farrell

A man has appeared in court charged with the murder of Mark Lamont who died in hospital this week, two weeks after allegedly being assaulted in Coleraine.

Richard Dalzell (35), a window cleaner from Whinpark Road, Newtownards, was in the dock at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday and was remanded in custody.

Mr Lamont (54), who was from the Captain Street area of Coleraine, was injured in an incident in the Ballycastle Road area of Coleraine in the early hours of Monday September 26.

He was being treated for serious head injuries in the Royal Victoria Hospital and had been on life support.

At the court a police officer said he believed he could connect the accused to the charge.

The officer said a witness claimed Dalzell "jumped up and down" on the head of the deceased.

Defence solicitor Ciaran Maguire said the accused maintains it is "a self defence case".

As the accused was being brought in to the court grounds in a police van a number of people shouted abuse.

A number of police officers were on standby as the members of the public shouted remarks including: "Rot in hell".

In the courtroom a number of police officers stood between a group of people and the accused in the dock who was handcuffed and wearing a grey sweatshirt and tracksuit bottoms.

The detective sergeant opposed a defence bail application.

The police officer said at 1am on September 26 the PSNI received a call from the Ambulance Service about a male "lying in a pool of blood" at Ballycastle Road and he was identified as Mr Lamont from Captain Street in Coleraine.

Mr Lamont was taken to the Causeway Hospital in the town with fractures to the skull and face and moved to the Royal Victoria Hospital where he was on life support and passed away on Tuesday, said the officer.

The policeman said enquiries revealed Mr Dalzell had accompanied a female to the Forge Bar in Coleraine and there was an incident involving three other males and the accused was bare-chested at one stage.

The officer alleged Dalzell was agitated and punched shop shutters.

The officer said as Dalzell was later engaged in "sexual relations" with the woman at a house at Ballycastle Road. Three males entered the property, one of which was the deceased.

The officer said the group dispersed but Mr Lamont returned alone and was assaulted.

The officer said witnesses said Dalzell threw the first punch and kicked Mr Lamont.

The officer opposed bail saying there were fears the accused could flee.

He said Dalzell had 21 previous convictions and he believed the accused is a member of a "paramilitary organisation in the Newtownards area" and is involved in "loan-sharking, drugs and money laundering".

The officer said Dalzell had been in a relationship with the woman for six months and "the murder occurred outside her house".

He said there was fear in the community about assisting police in the case.

The officer confirmed to defence solicitor Mr Maguire two other people were arrested and charged with aggravated burglary and released on police bail.

Mr Maguire said it was alleged they had gone to the house because the deceased "wanted to fight with Ricky Dalzell".

The solicitor claimed Dalzell put the three people out of the house and CCTV showed them running off with hoodies drawn tight around their faces.

The solicitor said the woman claimed Dalzell directed one punch and one kick and the case will come down to "what force was reasonable".

He said the allegation the accused had jumped on the head of the deceased "does not sit" with other evidence.

Mr Maguire said the accused has expressed his remorse but said it was "self defence".

District Judge Peter King said he was dealing with "a death in very difficult and tragic circumstances" as he remanded the accused in custody.

Dalzell will appear at Coleraine Magistrates Court via video link on October 31.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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