Karol Kelly murder accused refused bail

Karol Kelly.
Karol Kelly.

Police fear that a 17-year-old boy charged with the murder of father-of-five Karol Kelly would be at risk ‘from those seeking revenge’, a court has heard.

An investigating officer made the comment as the teenager, who has been in custody since March, applied for bail at Derry Magistrate’s Court.

The court heard that in March, last year, two males allegedly entered a house in Grafton Street and assaulted two brothers.

The court was told the two brothers and the teen followed these men out of the house and had an altercation with them.

One altercation is said to have occurred at the top of Grafton Street and then another at the bottom.

The 17-year-old allegedly pushed Mr Kelly, causing him to fall and he was then allegedly assaulted by one of the co-accused.

The court heard the teen tried to intervene, before another co-accused arrived and continued the assault.

After the assault, it is alleged the 17-year-old brought knives back to the property.

During police interview, the teen denied causing any injuries to Mr Kelly and claimed he tried to stop the assault.

Opposing bail, the investigating officer said the murder was ‘high profile’ and ‘significant tensions arose in the aftermath.’

The officer said death threats in the form of graffiti appeared in the city and police have concerns about the risk to the teen.

He added that police believe a bail address in Derry would be unsuitable and there is a risk of further offences.

The officer said there are also concerns the defendant will interfere with witnesses.

Under cross-examination, the officer confirmed there is no forensic link between the defendant and Mr Kelly. He also confirmed there is no identification evidence, however said the teen put himself at the scene.

A defence solicitor said his client had co-operated with police and had done ‘tremendous work’ while in custody.

Deputy District Judge John Rea said the teenager is facing the most serious charge and having heard the police objections he did not feel that he should grant bail.

The youth was remanded in custody to appear in court, along with his two co-accused, for a preliminary enquiry on February 7.