Paul McCauley accused has paramilitary links

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Police believe a man accused of the murder of Paul McCauley still has links to loyalist paramilitaries, a court has heard.

Matthew Brian Gillen, whose address was given on court papers as Kennedy Place, is charged with the murder of Mr McCauley on June 6, 2015.

He is further charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent and attempted grievous bodily harm to two other men in July 2006.

Mr McCauley was left in a vegetative state after he was assaulted at a barbecue on Chapel Road.

He died nine years later in a care home.

An investigating officer said the assault in 2006 was sectarian and an International Monitoring Commission report found that it was an unsanctioned UDA attack.

The officer said that police believe Gillen is still linked to loyalist paramilitaries or ‘at the very least a supporter of them’.

He said this was based on items found in a house search in December last year which caused police ‘concern’.

Opposing bail, the officer said police fear interference with witnesses as the investigation ‘has been frustrated since day one’.

He added police also fear the defendant may flee the jurisdiction as he works for an international demolition firm.

The officer also told the court police have fears the 28-year-old could attempt to obstruct justice.

He added that police also have concerns for Gillen’s safety.

The officer revealed that Gillen has received a number of threats from paramilitary groupings in the north west.

Defence counsel Sean Doherty told the court the evidence against his client is based on audio recordings.

He added that Gillen was first questioned about the incident in 2006 and there is no evidence he has tried to interfere with witnesses or obstruct justice.

The barrister said a co-accused was granted bail and Gillen should be afforded some ‘parity’.

District Judge Barney McElholm said ‘there are people in the community who know very well who committed this crime and could perhaps give evidence. They haven’t come forward since 2006 for whatever reason and it is unlikely they are going to come forward now’.

Gillen was released on his own bail of £2,000 to reside in Abbeydale. He must surrender his passport and must not leave Northern Ireland.

The 28-year-old is also banned for contacting any co-accused and must sign bail three times a week.

He will appear in court again on April 21.