Belfast Telegraph

William 'Pat' McCormick murder accused refused compassionate bail

Pat McCormick
Pat McCormick

By Paul Higgins

An alleged killer has been refused compassionate bail to visit his “severely unwell” sister in an intensive care unit.

Refusing to free 26-year-old David Gill on Wednesday, District Judge Mark Hamill said given this was his third application, “I can envisage number four, five and six coming down the track... I’m not going to have this back door bail.”

He told Newtownards Magistrates Court: “I was told the last time that this lady was basically on her death bed and that’s why I granted bail - I’m not going to do it again.”

Mr Gill, from the Ballyglighorn Road in Ards, is in custody accused of the murder of William ‘Pat’ McCormick on 30 May this year.

His co-accused 21-year-old Lesley-Ann Dodds, from Mountcollyer Avenue in Belfast, is on bail facing charges of aiding and abetting Mr McCormick's murder and perverting the course of justice.

Defence solicitor Darren Duncan said the family “have very real concerns about her mortality” as Gill’s sister’s condition has “rapidly deteriorated” to such an extent that she has been transferred from an open ward to ICU.

He revealed that the first time Gill asked for compassionate bail, Gill was freed for a few hours into the care of the prison chaplain with the judge warning him that “if he abused the trust placed in him, that would be a matter for himself".

“He honoured that bail,” said Mr Duncan, adding that a second similar application had been refused two weeks ago as there was no medical report before the court but “we now have a medical”.

Giving evidence evidence to the court, Detective Sergeant White said that as before, police were objecting to Gill being freed as they fear he could abscond or interfere with the investigation.

“There’s a forensic link, a telecoms link and a motive that this man maybe facing a life sentence which would give him motive to flee the jurisdiction,” said the officer.

DS White told the court “there’s outstanding evidence, one being a mobile phone” so if Gill was freed and “left the custody of the chaplain, he could contact his co-accused and instruct her to destroy any outstanding evidence.”

He further submitted there was also a risk of Gill interfering with witnesses, revealing that many are known to Gill and “a number have expressed fear of him personally.”

Refusing to release Gill, Judge Hamill said while he had been initially told “that this lady is on her death bed,” the medical report said there was a “low but not negligible risk of decline.”

Gill will appear again via videolink on 25 October.


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