Murder accused threatened to cut witness into pieces, court told
A man charged in connection with a farmer's murder threatened to cut a key prosecution witness into pieces and post her body parts all over the world, the High Court has heard.
Peter Maloney allegedly warned of the consequences for the woman if she did not meet him during a secretly recorded phone conversation, prosecutors said.
The 49-year-old, of Drumarg Villas, Armagh, faces charges of perverting the course of justice and withholding information over the killing of Victor Stewart in October 2008.
His son, Peter Joseph Maloney (23), of Drumarg Park, Armagh, has been charged with the murder and stealing a safe from the |victim's property.
Mr Stewart (45) was beaten |to death at his isolated farmhouse in Middletown.
Maloney senior was granted bail on conditions that he lodged a £10,000 cash surety and makes no attempt to locate the witness.
It emerged during the hearing that he met with the woman at a Sainsbury's supermarket last November. A Crown lawyer claimed a number of veiled threats were made to her during the encounter, which was covertly recorded by police.
Defence counsel Kevin Magill contended that Maloney only offered “fireside legal advice” to the woman about what she should do if she had any knowledge about who was responsible.
He added: “The case is based solely on the transcript of that conversation with this lady who admits in the body of the conversation that she is drunk.”
However, the prosecution revealed the alleged contents of |a phone conversation between the pair earlier the same day about the meeting.
The woman repeatedly promised that she would turn up, the court heard. According to the Crown lawyer, Maloney replied: “See if you don't, I will cut you up in bits and post you to all the different corners of the world.”
The judge hearing the application described the alleged threat as “blood-curdling”.
Mr Justice McLaughlin acknowledged there was a basis for the prosecution fears of potential interference with the witness if Maloney was released.
But he held that the risk could be managed, pointing out that the accused did not know her current whereabouts.