Uproar in Londonderry court as brothers face murder charges

Karol Kelly was killed in Londonderry on Sunday
Karol Kelly was killed in Londonderry on Sunday

There were angry scenes in Londonderry Magistrates’ Court as two brothers appeared in court charged with the murder of Karol Kelly.

Gary Anderson, 20, and his 19-year-old brother, Sean Anderson, with an address in Grafton Street, were charged with the murder of 35-year-old Mr Kelly on Sunday.

An estimated 30 police officers were in the courtroom for the brief hearing, those officers having formed a cordon along both sides of the court.

Two men who were in the public gallery were taken to the cells for contempt of court after they shouted at the defendants.

One man had also been removed from the courtroom prior to the hearing because he was holding up a photograph of the deceased man, pointing it towards the dock.

Before the defendants were brought into court, District Judge Barney McElholm asked that the proceedings be conducted in a “dignified and respectful manner”.

He said: “There is a man dead here. I realise tensions and emotions are running high but I will not tolerate bad behaviour on anyone’s part. This is a necessary part of the court process and they will be conducted in a dignified manner. Anyone who disrupts the court risks an immediate prison sentence.”

He asked everyone in the public gallery to take their seats, but a number of people remained standing.

As the charges were read to the defendants, people in the public gallery sitting with the family of the late Mr Kelly began shouting towards the dock.

The judge then asked for the court to be cleared apart from the direct family members of Mr Kelly. However, one male who had been permitted to stay also had to be removed because he continued to shout at the defendants.

An investigating officer told the court she believed she could connect the brothers to the charge.

Under cross-examination from defence solicitor, Kevin Casey, she confirmed that the deceased had made a number of threats towards the defendants prior to the alleged incident.

The officer also confirmed that a short time before the alleged incident, Mr Kelly and another man had entered the Anderson family home and assaulted the brothers.

She said that Gary Anderson had sustained ‘common assault’ type injuries, including two broken teeth.

The officer also confirmed to the court that another male, who was in the company of Mr Kelly and was not before the court, was arrested on suspicion of burglary with intent to cause GBH.

She also accepted that witnesses had reported that Mr Kelly had made a ‘threat to kill anyone who went to the police’.

There was no application for bail and the two defendants were remanded in custody.

The judge heard that identification was an issue in the case and he granted an order which bans the publication of any photograph of the defendants in the public arena, including social media.

The Anderson brothers will appear in court again via video-link on March 29.

The two men sent to the cells later appeared before the judge and apologised for their actions. Their apologies were accepted and no further action was taken.