Men accused of murdering local father of nine refused bail

Two men accused of the murder of Edward Meenan have been refused bail at the local Magistrate’s Court.

Tuesday, 29th January 2019, 7:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 7:32 pm
The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

Sean Rodgers, (31), of Little Diamond and 19-years-old Ryan Walters, of Crawford Square, are charged with the murder of the 52-years-old father of nine on November 25, last year.

Police opposed bail for fear that both defendants would commit further offences.

In relation to Rodgers, the officer said police believe the 31-years-old would be unwilling to appear in court.

The officer said that the murder had led to ‘considerable tension and anger within the community’ and police have concerns Rodgers could ‘suffer at the hands of others’ due to the murder.

The police officer said that Rodgers had ‘an extensive history of violent offences and had a propensity to use weapons’ and was a risk to the public if released.

He outlined some of the offences in Rodgers criminal record, including a conviction for an incident where the defendant received a seven years sentence for an attack in which the victim was stabbed in the throat.

Defence barrister Sean Doherty said that despite the scene providing police with ‘a veritable gold mine of forensics’ there is no link to his client.

He added that another man who accompanied the deceased on the night in question had not identified Rodgers as being present at the time of the murder.

Mr. Doherty told the court: “There is not enough evidence to connect this man to the most serious of charges.”

Turning to Walter, the investigating officer said the teenager has 30 previous convictions, inlcuing for ‘serious offences involving violence.’

He said one of these included an incident where Walters kicked a homeless man on the ground.

The officer told the court Walters had breached bail on numerous occasions in the past and he did not believe he would adhere to any conditions imposed.

Defence counsel Eoghan Devlin said it was likely to be two years before the case is dealt with.

He added that his client had made no attempt to leave the city nor to interfere with witnesses prior to his arrest.

However, the investigating officer interjected to tell the court police were investigating a phone call which they believed may have been an attempt to organise a way out of the city. In response, Mr Devlin said that as the city is a matter of miles away from the border Walters could have quite easily got on a bus to leave Derry.

Deputy District Judge Laura Ievers said this is ‘a sensitive and complex case’ and the court has concerns about the risk of re-offending. The judge refused bail and both men were remanded in custody until February 14.