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24/10/2021

Court hears Derry man is under threat from ‘evil’ people

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A judge has said he is not prepared to grant a defendant bail to an address in Derry where he may be a target for people with ‘evil intent’.

Jason Murphy, 28, whose address was given as Drumbane Gardens in Derry, appeared at Derry Magistrates Court for breaching his bail conditions.

He has been charged with 11 offences including criminal damage, disorderly behaviour, assaulting police officers and resisting arrest on May 4 of this year.

The defendant had been granted bail to his aunt’s house in Strabane but they were said to have had a ‘disagreement’ and the address was withdrawn.

An alternative address was put forward to the court in the Kilfennan area of the city.

District Judge Peter King raised concerns about a threat against Murphy which had been highlighted at a previous court appearance in May.

Defence barrister Eoghan Devlin said: “I think it’s fair to say the police view might be that it’s more hot air rather than a verified threat.”

A police officer told the court the address is ‘not suitable’ due to a threat.

When asked why the aunt’s address was withdrawn, Mr Devlin said it could be characterised as a ‘disagreement’. 

The defendant was said to have lifted her cat ‘in a way that did not lend itself to the aunt’ and an argument occurred.  “And here we are,” he added.

Judge King asked whether that relationship could be ‘patched up’, Mr Devlin answered: “I’m not in the habit of tilting at windmills, I pressed the importance of that on the defendant.”

The judge said if Murphy was back in the city it ‘could put him in the crosshairs of people who don’t observe the niceties of due process.’

It was suggested that one of the members of the household could be asked to provide a surety to give the assurance that ‘they feel confident it is a medium to long-term solution.’

Judge King reiterated the point that he had ‘grave concerns’ that if released to an address in the city Murphy could be a target for people with ‘evil intent’.

Bail was granted to an address deemed suitable to police and a surety of £500 must be provided.

The case will appear before the court again on July 6.

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