Murder accused in court

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A SWATRAGH man has been returned for trial over the murder of a police officer shot dead after visiting his new-born son.

RUC Reserve Constable John Proctor was 25 when he was gunned down by the IRA in the car park of the Mid-Ulster Hospital on 14 September 1981.

Seamus Martin Kearney, 57, of Gortleade Road appeared for a preliminary enquiry at magherafelt Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

Mr Kearney is also charged with possessing an Armalite AR15 rifle with intent to endanger life.

This is not the first time that Kearney has appeared in court in relation to the charges.

Last year a case against Kearney collapsed after his defence successfully lodged a legal application arguing there was insufficient evidence to allow the case to proceed to trial.

Mr Justice Weir, sitting at Laganside Corurthouse, acceded the application.

At the time Kearney categorically denied the charges.

During Wednesday’s hearing he spoke only to confirm he understood the charges.

He declined to give evidence or call witnesses.

District Judge Desmond Perry remanded the accused on bail to appear for arraignment at Belfast Crown Court on date to be fixed.

Father-of-two reserve constable John Proctor, of Upperlands, had just visited his wife June and their newborn baby son in the Magherafelt hospital when he was shot dead by an IRA gunman in the car park on September 14 1981.