Ogle murder suspect tells High Court he intervened during assault
One of the men charged with murdering Ian Ogle claims he drove associates to the scene for a "fight" without realising any were carrying a knife, the High Court heard on Tuesday.
Jonathan Brown told police he intervened and tried to pull an assailant away when he saw the Belfast community worker had been stabbed.
Prosecutors also said 33-year-old Brown fled to Thailand 24 hours after the fatal attack in the east of the city on January 27 this year.
Mr Ogle, 45, was beaten and stabbed 11 times close to his Cluan Place home.
Five men allegedly took part in the 30-second assault, which is believed to be linked to a long-running feud.
Brown, of McArthur Court in Belfast, and two others have been charged with the murder.
During a bail application it was claimed that the five suspects travelled to the scene in a Seat Leon car, with CCTV footage showing them approach the victim.
When detectives later recovered the vehicle they found a plastic bag containing trainers and £2,000 in cash inside it, the court heard.
"Police believe this was the applicant planning to dispose of evidence which implicated him in the murder, and the cash was to be used to flee the country," prosecution counsel submitted.
She claimed he is forensically linked to the trainers, which were examined and found to have Mr Ogle's blood on them.
Brown was arrested at Heathrow Airport on February 6 as he returned from Thailand.
The court heard he had travelled to southeast Asia from Dublin a day after the killing, paying for his flight ticket in cash hours before departure.
In police interviews he provided a statement denying the murder.
"He said he had driven people in the Seat Leon to Cluan Place for a fight, but was unaware anyone had a knife or any other weapons," the Crown lawyer said.
According to Brown's account he parked and walked over to the scene, where he saw Mr Ogle being stabbed and tried to pull the assailant away.
Opposing bail during Monday's hearing, the prosecution further alleged Brown's phone contained the message: "They don't seem to have anything on anyone at all."
Turning to his claim about attempting to intervene in the attack, counsel acknowledged: "It appears there's CCTV footage which would indicate that someone is trying to pull the others away.
"The police say its a matter of interpretation whether they are trying to say 'let's go' or trying to pull someone off."
Defence barrister Tom McCreanor argued that the evidence could show that his client's assertions were correct.
"There's no indication through any of the material available on CCTV that Mr Brown was involved in a physical attack on Mr Ogle," he added.
Adjourning the bail application so that footage can be viewed, Mr Justice Maguire listed it for a further hearing next week.
Belfast Telegraph Digital