Pair charged with ‘paramilitary-style kidnapping’ in Londonderry

editorial image

Two men charged in connection with what a police officer described as “a paramilitary-style kidnapping” in Londonderry have been refused bail despite a solicitor telling the court there was “no evidence against them”.

Damian Donaghey, 31, of Circular Road in Londonderry and George McBrearty, 33, from Burnfoot in Co Donegal, were charged with kidnapping a man.

A police officer told the court that at around 9pm on October 26 police received a report from a member of the public that a black 4x4 had pulled up alongside a red van in the Westway area of Creggan and two males had pulled a man out of the van and taken him away.

The alleged injured party was said to have told police he had been kidnapped by four people, taken to a wooded area, interrogated and threatened with being shot.

The details of the 4x4 were circulated and just before 11pm a similar vehicle was spotted in the Clon Elagh area of Shantallow and two men – the defendants – were seen waking away from it.

Police approached the men and a hammer and a machete were found in the vehicle.They were arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and made no comment interviews.

Their clothes and phones were examined and on Donaghey’s phone it was claimed was a photo of the red van.

CCTV was checked and it appeared to show him taking a photo of the van in the city centre earlier that day.

The officer opposed bail stating that the evidence suggested that the alleged injured party was being followed around the city and if released the pair could interfere with the investigation.

Defence solicitor Paddy McGurk asked the officer had he received a statement from the alleged injured party stating he did not want to pursue charges and was told he had.

The solicitor said the police had “no fingerprints, no identification evidence that puts the pair in Westway and you don’t have an injured party”.

He said the police would have “great difficulty” in proceeding with the case.

He continued that he accepted they were serious charges but there was no evidence.

District Judge Michael Ranaghan said the evidence “may have been weakened” but was still there and added that it was “a most serious and sinister type of offending”.

Both men were remanded in custody to appear again on November 23.