Belfast High Court: Derry man to stand trial for murder of Barry McCrory

Kieran McLaughlin pictured at an earlier court apperance.

Kieran McLaughlin pictured at an earlier court apperance.

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A Derry man is to stand trial next year charged with carrying out a murder in the city.

Kieran Edward Joseph McLaughlin (59), of Elaghmore Park, Derry, appeared in the dock on Friday at Belfast Crown Court for an arraingnment hearing.

Standing with his arms folded, dressed in jeans and T-shirt and sporting a grey beard, McLauglin pleaded not guilty to the murder of Barry McCrory.

Mr McCrory (35) was shot dead in his flat in Derry’s Shipquay Street on October 10, 2013.

The murder sparked a seven day cross-border man-hunt for the suspect who police at the time publicly identified as Kieran McLaughlin.

McLaughlin was later arrested on October 17, 2013 in the Fern Park area of Galliagh following a PSNI surveillance operation.

The defendant further pleaded not guilty to possessing firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life and in suspicious circumstances on dates between October 9 and October 17, 2013.

The weapons included a 12-bore, double barrelled sawn-off shotgun and seven cartridges along with a Mauser self-loading pistol and magazine.

He also denied having a imitation Walther P38 pistol on October 16, 2013 in a public place with intent to cause fear of violence.

Counsel for McLaughlin, Brian McCartney QC said the defence planned to call a number of witnesses at the trial, including a facial mapping expert and a podiatric specialist.

During a frank exchange with Mr McCartney, Mr Justice Weir said he was less than impressed with a defence overview of their case.

“It reminds of a Santa Claus present you get out of the Co-op - it was extremely disappointing.’’

The judge urged the defence to “hit the ground running’’ in the coming weeks to secure the services of the expert witnesses for the trial as the defendant had been in custody since his arrest 14 months ago.

Crown prosecutor Ciaran Murphy QC said that the non-jury trial is expected to last up to three weeks.

Mr Justice Weir set the trial date for March 2, 2015.

McLaughlin was remanded back into custody to Maghabery prison to await the start of his trial.