Belfast Telegraph

Two men in court charged with Derry kidnapping

By George Jackson

Two men, one from Donegal and the other from Londonderry, appeared at Magistrate's Court in Derry on Monday following the reported kidnapping of a 37-year-old man.

The defendants are Damien Donaghey, 31, from Circular Road Road in the Creggan area of the city and George Patrick McBrearty (33) from Bunfoot in Co. Donegal.

They're jointly charged with kidnapping a man at Westway in Creggan last Thursday night.

Both men were arrested shortly after the alleged incident just over three miles away at the Skeoge Road.

On Saturday morning they both appeared at a special sitting of the Magistrate's Court where members of the P.S.N.I.'s Major Investigations Team were granted an additional thirty-six hours to continue to question both men.

In Court on Monday a detective constable told District Judge Michael Ranaghan that at 9 pm last Thursday a member of the public reported to the police that they had seen two men get out of a 4x4 Toyota and taking a man from a van before putting him into their vehicle.

The complainant told the police that up to four men were involved in the incident and that he was taken to a wooded area near Kildrum Gardens in the Westway area of Creggan where he was interrogated and threatened by two men who said they were going to shoot him. He told the police that he was kept for thirty minutes and that throughout that time he shivered and was cold.

Details of the Toyota were circulated to members of  mobile police patrols and just before 11 pm the vehicle was found parked three and a half miles away at Clon Elagh in the Skeoge Road area.

The police witness said the defendant Donaghey was the driver and the defendant McBrearty was a front seat passenger. Both men were seen walking away from the vehicle before they were stopped and arrested by the police officers. Inside the 4x4 Toyota the police found a machete and a hammer.

On the defendant Donaghey the police found a mobile phone and on it they found photographic  details of the make and registration number of the van driven by the injured party.

The detective constable said that city centre CCTV footage also showed the defendant Donaghey following the injured party earlier on last Thursday. He said after both men were arrested they made no comment interviews in Strand Road Police Station.

Opposing bail the detective constable said it was "a paramilitary style assault on a parcel delivery driver". He said police investigations into the incident were continuing and other witnesses had yet to be interviewed. He said during the police follow-up door to door enquiries operation groups of youths threw stones at police officers.

"We are still compiling their movements with the assistance of CCTV as we believe two other men were involved. We believe those involved had intimate knowledge of the van driver's movements", the police witness said.

"The main witness is fearful because of the paramilitary style incident and he says he is in considerable fear", he added.

Applying for bail defence solicitor Paddy McGurk said the complainant had contacted the police on Friday to indicate that he no longer wished to be part of the police investigation.

"Furthermore he made a statement this morning in the presence of his solicitor saying he does not wish the police to proceed any further. He also states he felt pressurised into saying things to the police. He is not prepared to proceed any further with his complaint", Mr McGurk said.

Part of the complainant's statement was then read out in court. It stated "as the investigators pressurised me into making a statement about matters I do not wish to pursue".

Mr McGurk said there was "no evidence against both defendants, there is no injured party, there is no finger print evidence and there is no evidence connecting them to the offence. Both defendants are entitled to the presumption of innocence. There is no injured party before the court to say he was held and taken away against his will".

However the District Judge said he was satisfied there was a real risk of interference with other witnesses in a continuing police investigation and together with the serious nature of the charge he was refusing bail.

Both defendants were remanded in custody until November 23.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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