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Tiger kidnap accused denied bail

A Belfast man accused of involvement in a hostage-taking plot thought the victims’ home was just to be burgled, the High Court has heard.

Terence Lunney's barrister also claimed he was the only one of five suspects to fully co-operate with police investigating the alleged attempted tiger kidnapping in Magherafelt, Co Londonderry.

But despite his submissions the 26-year-old was refused bail due to the risk of interference with witnesses.

Lunney, of Nansen Street, Belfast, is accused of conspiring to rob, kidnap and falsely imprison three family members who all work in the financial sector.

He was arrested along with two co-defendants in fields near the house on Aughrim Road which was the alleged target.

Prosecutors have disclosed that police swooped following a surveillance operation which tracked some of the suspects from west Belfast.

Two fake guns, one a gas-powered imitation weapon, cable ties, balaclavas, duct tape and surgical gloves were seized, the court was told.

Seeking bail for Lunney, barrister Kieran Mallon said: “This applicant is the only person of the five who were arrested who spoke freely to police during the currency of his interviews.”

But Mr Justice Deeny said: “The more of these applicants who are at liberty, the more chance there is of an attempt to intimidate civilian witnesses in the case.”

Belfast Telegraph