The death of a man whose body was found in a house in Londonderry last November "involved knives", police disclosed for the first time yesterday.
A detective constable who is part of the investigation into the killing of Edward Meenan, whose body was found in the Little Diamond area, made the disclosure at the Magistrates Court in Derry yesterday.
The officer was speaking during bail applications by two of the three men who have been in custody since last November charged with the murder of the 56-year-old victim.
The three defendants jointly charged with Mr Meenan's murder are Sean Rodgers (31), from the Little Diamond; Ryan Walters (19), from the Methodist Mission in Crawford Square, and Derek Cresswell (26), of no fixed abode.
Barristers for Rodgers, who is in custody in Maghaberry Prison, and Walters, who is being held in Hydebank Prison, made bail applications, which were opposed by the detective constable.
In relation to Rodgers, the police witness said the applicant had a criminal record of 30 previous convictions.
"The death of Mr Meenan involved knives", he also told Deputy District Judge Laura Ievers.
The witness added that police "believe if granted bail he will fail to turn up for future court appearances and that because of his violent history he will intimidate witnesses".
Cross-examined by defence barrister Sean Doherty, the police witness said there was no evidence of any animosity between the defendant and Mr Meenan.
The officer confirmed that there was "as yet" no forensic evidence linking Rodgers to the murder scene and he also confirmed that "the two other co-defendants are forensically connected by the deceased's blood, but not this defendant".
The defence barrister said there was "a veritable goldmine of forensic evidence in the property" which had not been linked to the defendant and he submitted that the "police had reached a view about the defendant's involvement based on his criminal record".
"The police cannot connect the defendant forensically with the investigation and nobody can place the defendant in the property at the time of the offence," the QC said.
In relation to Walters, the officer said he was a prolific offender with 33 criminal convictions.
He said the murder of Mr Meenan had caused considerable tension in the community and he believed if granted bail the defendant would reoffend, abscond, interfere with civilian witnesses "and he may suffer harm from members of the community".
The officer described him as "a genuine risk to the public".
Walter's barrister Eoghan Devlin said the defendant was arrested in his sheltered accommodation which was just a few miles from the border.
"He could have got on a bus and left the city but he chose not to do so," the barrister told the judge.
Both bail applications were refused because of a potential for reoffending and the case was adjourned for three weeks.