Dungannon man accused of David Black murder ‘not seen by police since November’

Pacemaker Press 16-09-2016: 
Damien McLaughlin leaves Laganside Court on Friday, Charged in connection with the murder of  prison officer David Black  who was shot dead while driving to work in Maghaberry Prison in 2012.
Picture Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 16-09-2016: Damien McLaughlin leaves Laganside Court on Friday, Charged in connection with the murder of prison officer David Black who was shot dead while driving to work in Maghaberry Prison in 2012. Picture Pacemaker

One of Northern Ireland’s most senior judges has revoked the bail of a Dungannon man facing trial on charges linked to the murder of prison officer David Black.

Damien Joseph McLaughlin is due to stand trial next month on terrorist charges including supplying a car to dissident republicans who gunned down Mr Black as he drove to work on the M1 in November 2012.

The 40-year old, from Kilmascally Road in Dungannon, had spent time on remand, but was granted bail in May 2014.

However, a Crown prosecutor informed Mr Justice Treacy that the accused has not been seen by police since last November and is no longer living at his bail address in Belfast. Revealing that it was not clear whether or not McLaughlin had absconded ahead of his trial, the prosecutor asked that his bail be revoked.

The prosecutor revealed that McLauglin failed to sign with police last November, and that since then they have not seen him. He also said that on December 23, police called to the address in Belfast which he said “appears to have effectively been cleared out.” Milk that was four weeks out of date was found in the fridge.

The court heard that when officers checked his other address in Ardboe, and those of family members, this was “of no assistance.” The prosecutor also said that the people who provided surities, namely McLaughlin’s uncles, were also “not able to assist in locating him.”

The prosecutor said that whilst it was not clear whether or not McLaughlin had absconded, he had breached his bail conditions. This, he said, suggested “the proper course now is to revoke his bail.”

When McLaughlin’s legal team were asked to comment on the circumstances, his barrister told the court “we have nothing to say.”

Mr Justice Treacy then said “bail is revoked.”

McLaughlin is due to face a Diplock non-jury trial in February on terrorist charges including aiding and abetting the murder of Mr Black, possessing articles for use in terrorism and belonging to a proscribed organisation.