Belfast Telegraph

Officer cleared over text message remains suspended, says PSNI

By Mark Edwards

A PSNI officer who was found not guilty of intending to pervert the course of justice in a case linked to a single punch killing remains suspended from the police.

Detective Sergeant Cathy Thompson was acquitted in December after a trial at Londonderry Crown Court.

However, the PSNI has told the Belfast Telegraph that the officer remains suspended and has not yet returned to work.

Ms Thompson (34) was accused of intending to pervert the course of justice by sending a text message to Ciara McCoy, with whom she was in a relationship at the time of Mr McDonagh's death in January 2016.

The text message was sent to Ms McCoy by the detective on the day Ms McCoy's brother Finbar McCoy killed James McDonagh outside the Elk Bar in Toomebridge. A single punch from Finbar McCoy caused the victim to fall backwards and hit his head on the pavement.

Mr McDonagh suffered a fractured skull in addition to bleeding and swelling of the brain, and he died from his injuries in hospital.

Ms Thompson's message said: "Yeah, don't have anything in the house u shouldn't have as they will land to arrest him. They will then search the whole house for clothing."

At the Crown Court in Belfast last week, McCoy asked to be rearraigned on the manslaughter charge and pleaded guilty.

He was then remanded in custody until he is sentenced next month.

Following McCoy's plea, the judge lifted reporting restrictions on Det Sgt Thompson's trial. The officer was found not guilty by the jury following a three day trial at the Bishop Street Crown Court.

When the jury forewoman announced the not guilty verdict, Det Sgt Thompson broke down and wept in the dock.

Belfast Telegraph

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