Newry gun attack linked to escalating traveller feud, court told
A gun attack on a house in Newry is linked to an escalating feud between rival factions within the travelling community, the High Court heard on Monday.
Prosecutors claimed shots were fired at the property on March 26 in an attempt on the victim's life.
Details emerged as one of five men accused of being in a "lookout" car was granted bail to live at an address in England.
Thomas O'Reilly, 24, faces charges of aiding and abetting the possession of a firearm in suspicious circumstances, assisting offenders, possessing an offensive weapon in public, and motoring offences.
A judge was told three men suspected of carrying out the shooting in the Altmore Gardens area are still at large.
The shotgun used to blast through the living room window, leaving a man inside uninjured but badly shocked, is also yet to be located.
O'Reilly, whose address was given as within the vicinity of Ellisholding Road, Cloghoge, was detained with his four co-accused in a BMW car stopped on the Carnagat Road.
A Crown lawyer claimed the vehicle had been driven in the centre of the road in a deliberate bid to stop the PSNI pursuing a Honda Accord allegedly involved in the shooting.
A slash hook on a long stick was recovered as part of the investigation.
"It's considered that the occupants of the BMW knew of the planned attack," prosecution counsel said.
"The police view is they must have been operating as lookouts."
Opposing bail, the barrister expressed concerns that an ongoing feud may escalate further.
"There have been a number of incidents in the Newry area in recent weeks, involving rival factions of the travelling community, of increasing frequency and seriousness," he told the court.
"Police still have fears (those involved) will revisit the area to prevent further cooperation and perhaps make a further attempt on the life of the victim."
O'Reilly mounted a renewed bid to be released from custody based on the availability of an address in Buckinghamshire.
Defence counsel Michael Ward contended that any concerns about ongoing disturbances in the Newry area would be met by his client living in England.
Granting bail, Mr Justice Colton stressed the accommodation must be approved by police.
He also banned O'Reilly from any contact with the injured party, co-accused or any witnesses.
Belfast Telegraph Digital