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Judge says ‘enough evidence for reasonable suspicion’ of two accused of Malcolm McKeown murder

The case was adjourned for ballistics report and update next month

Malcolm McKeown murder

A district judge has said there is “enough evidence” for police to have “reasonable suspicion” in the case of two Lurgan men accused of the murder of Malcolm McKeown in Waringstown.

Court heard it alleged that two boiler suits had since been seized from one of the defendant’s homes, one of which had tested positive for cartridge discharge residue, whilst the other tested positive for blood.

Jake O’Brien, 24, of Rectory Road, and Andrew Martin, 24, of Trasna Way, appeared charged with murder at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday, via videolink from Maghaberry.

Court previously heard the 54-year-old victim was found dead in his car behind a service station in Waringstown having been shot six times to the head and body

CCTV from the scene identified a blue Volkswagen Passat – which had been stolen from the Republic of Ireland in February – in the area at the time of the murder.

Further CCTV from Green Hill Park in Lurgan, showed a male get out of a green Volkswagen Golf, which was registered to the defendant, before getting into a dark car believed to be a Passat at around 5pm.

A blue Passat was detected on the Dunkirk Road heading towards Lurgan at 6.22pm and entered the parking area of the service station at 6.26pm.

The vehicle remained there and is only seen leaving on CCTV at 7.20pm following the gunshots.

It is seen to return to Green Hill Park in Lurgan where is it set alight and two males wearing boiler suits make off in the Golf.

Martin was stopped at 9pm that same evening for an unrelated matter, court was told.

The Golf had originally been seized because it was believed to be uninsured but was returned to the defendant the next day when he provided an insurance policy.

It was stated in court that a black latex glove found at the scene had proved a positive match to O’Brien.

Speaking on Friday, a constable stated that ballistics reports had now been pushed back until late February. They had been expected at the end of last month.

He said that two boiler suits had been seized from O’Brien’s home, one of these was being forensically tested for habitual wear, to establish who had been wearing it, after cartridge discharge residue (CDR) was allegedly found on it.

Court was informed that the second boiler suit has tested positive for blood, and the constable stated if this matched the deceased then a habitual wear test would also be carried out on this item.

He added that a swab on O’Brein’s home came back positive for CDR and the gloves which were found to have had O’Brien’s DNA on them, at the burn site of the suspected getaway vehicle, also had CDR on them.

Defence counsel for Martin, stated: “We had been told that the full file in this case was being held up by a ballistic report and now we are being told otherwise.”

Defence barrister Michael Forde, who represented O’Brein, said: “The gloves have tested positive for CDR particles only, the glove was near but not right beside the burned out Passat.

“There is no eyewitness, no CCTV linking the defendant to the shooting. There is also no forensic evidence linking him to the scene of the shooting.”

Prosecution commented: “I wish to highlight, that my friend has outlined what does not link his client to the offence but I am not prepared to go through a list of what does.”

District Judge Stephen Keown stated: “I am satisfied that there is enough evidence for the police to have a reasonable suspicion.”

The case was adjourned until March 6, for the ballistics report and an update on anything else outstanding.

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