Four remanded in custody

FOUR men have been remanded in custody charged with intimidating a witness in Coalisland last week.

Patrick Larkin, 45 of Ladbroke Drive, Belfast, Francisco McAtamney 42, of Mount Eagles Crescent, Dunmurray, Stephen Mackin, 31, of Northwick Drive, Belfast and Mark McGrann (29) of Mount Eagles Crescent, Dunmurray, appeared at Strabane Magistrates Court on Thursday charged with threatening a 35-year-old man at his Coalisland home on January 8.

Outlining the facts of the case a PSNI Detective Constable told the court that the incident was related to a tiger kidnapping trial that began at Belfast’s Crown Court on Monday in which McGrann is also a defendant.

The officer told the court that on 8th January, the victim, who is a witness in the kidknapping case was alerted to a knock on the door of his home at Moor Road, Coalisland where he was greeted by three men.

The men told the witness they wanted to speak to him and when he refused and told them to get out they said to him “don’t got to court.”

A phone was also taken to prevent the man’s wife from phoning for help.

When the three men left the witness pursued them down the street, shouting to neighbours to phone the PSNI. He continued to follow them as they approached an ‘Eagle’ Taxi but instead of getting into the waiting car, the three men walked on.

The witness continued to persue the men until they made off across fields, a court heard, Half an hour after the incident the taxi was again spotted before a local cab firm took a call from a man looking for a lift to Belfast.

Police were alerted and the man, identified as McGrann was arrested. He immediately owned up, telling officers “It’s me you are looking for.”

The keys to the taxi bearing the Eagle sign were found in his pocket.

Several hours later the police were alerted to another call to a local taxi frim from three men looking to book a taxi to Belfast. The three men were subseqently arrested and taken to Antrim Serious Crime Suite for questioning where all three, plus McGrann who had been arrested earlier were formally charged.

A defence solicitor made an application for bail for McAtamney which was opposed by the PSNI on the grounds that he could further interfere with witnesses.

District Judge Liam McNally remanded all men in custody to appear at Dungannon Magistrates Court on 16th January via video link.