no terrorist links to murder

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Police confirmed in court yesterday that there was no terrorist connection to the recent murder of Derry man Barry McCrory.

The confirmation came when 58 years-old Kieran McLaughlin appeared in court charged with the murder of Mr McCrory in the city centre on October 10.

The defendant, from 60 Elaghmore Park, was also charged with possession of a shotgun and ammunition with intent to endanger life when he appeared at a special sitting of Derry Magistrate’s Court.

The court heard after McLaughlin was charged in a police station with murder, he replied “not guilty”. McLaughlin also denied the firearm and ammunition charges against him in the police station.

Yesterday the defendant spoke only to confirm his name and say he understood the charges against him.Dressed in a grey T-shirt, McLaughlin looked calm throughout the brief proceedings.

Defence solicitor Kevin Casey asked the investigating PSNI detective to confirm that there was no terrorist connection to the alleged offences and the officer confirmed this was the case.

No application was made for bail and District Judge Barney McElholm remanded the defendant in custody to appear in court again via videolink on November 14.

On the way into court, friends and family members of McLaughlin shouted “keep your head up” and various messages of support, to which he replied “no problem”. Two of his daughters were also present in the courtroom during proceedings.

As he left the courthouse, McLaughlin smiled and gave the thumbs-up to supporters outside.

Barry McCrory, who was 35, was shot dead at a flat in Shipquay Street on October 10. Kieran McLaughlin was arrested in the Galliagh area of Derry on Wednesday after a week-long manhunt involving police officers on both sides of the border.

He was finally apprehended around 3am on Wednesday, hiding behind a parked Volkwagen Passat car in Fern Park. A series of police searches then took place around Galliagh, with around 75 residents being evacuated from their homes.