Hillsborough man in murder trial

A Hillsborough man was on trial this week for the murder of a man shot dead near Comber two years ago.

Jimmy Seales (56) from Ballykeel Road and Stephen McCaughey (26) of Shackelton Walk, Newtownards are accused of the murder of Philip Strickland (36) who was shot on the Ballydrain Road, on January 11, 2012.

The murder victim’s mother told court she was aware of a paramilitary threat against her son and described him as someone ‘who would never hurt anyone.’ Both men deny murder and possessing a gun with intent to endanger life.

In a statement read at Belfast Crown Court on behalf of Mrs Elizabeth Dempster, she said her son had been threatened by the UVF and told to stay out of Comber following a fight in a local bar. The statement revealed that police told Mr Strickland of a threat against him but was not aware why this second threat had been issued.

Mrs Dempster’s statement revealed her son’s ‘attitude changed’ when he was ‘put out’ of Comber. She said she was aware Mr Strickland put comments on Facebook about Jimmy being assaulted.