Belfast Telegraph

Prison chiefs pledge to keep Karol Kelly murder accused safe after threats

Karol Kelly
Karol Kelly

By Alan Erwin

Prison chiefs have pledged to ensure the safety of a teenager believed to be under threat while in custody on a murder charge, the High Court heard today.

Michael Dunlop is the youngest of three to be accused of killing father-of-five Karol Kelly in Derry.

Mr Kelly was stabbed to death at Grafton Street in the Rosemount area on March 4 last year.

Dunlop, of Fern Park in the city, can now be named after he turned 18 a week ago.

He is now due to be transferred from Woodlands Juvenile Justice Centre to Hydebank Young Offenders' Centre.

Defence lawyers mounted a fresh application for bail amid claims he is under a "live threat" from two others currently being held at the Hydebank facilities.

But Crown lawyer Conor Maguire told the court staff at the detention centre have indicated Dunlop will be "managed appropriately" to ensure no harm comes to him.

Consideration is also being given to potentially moving the other two inmates to an adult establishment.

"If the applicant moves to Hydebank, not only does the Governor have an obligation to care for the applicant and his safety, but assurances have been given in that regard," Mr Maguire said.

The barrister also claimed Dunlop and his co-accused remain at risk within the Derry area.

Plunkett Nugent, defending, argued that threats on gable walls in the city relate to the other two murder suspects.

He insisted that Dunlop has been charged with murder on the basis of joint enterprise.

No forensic evidence or eye witness accounts link the teenager to actually carrying out the fatal attack, the court was told.

Mr Nugent added that Dunlop would seek to get back onto a college bricklaying course if released on bail.

But adjourning the application for two weeks, Mr Justice McAlinden said he will review the case again following Dunlop's transfer to Hydebank.

The judge said: "It would be very difficult for any court to release an applicant on bail to an address in any environment in the community where he is, or could be potentially, under serious threat."

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