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Seven charged with attempted murder of PSNI detective

DCI John Caldwell is continuing his recovery at home after being shot multiple times in February outside a sports complex in Omagh, Co Tyrone.

Seven men have been charged with the attempted murder of senior PSNI detective John Caldwell, who was shot multiple times in a suspected terrorist attack carried out by the New IRA earlier this year.

Detectives have made a number of arrests since DCI Caldwell was gunned down on February 22.

Now, Jonathan McGinty, Brian Carron, Gavin Coyle, Matthew McLean, Robert McLean, James Ivor McLean and Alan McFarland have been charged with his attempted murder.

During a remand hearing covering the prosecution cases against the seven accused, a PSNI detective chief inspector said his colleague was “intimately involved” in investigations into several of the accused.

He said that potential grudge against DCI Caldwell was the “golden thread” linking a number of those accused.

They each appeared at Dungannon Magistrates’ Court on Monday morning, the same day as three of the seven - Coyle, James Ivor McLean and McGinty - made unsuccessful bail applications.

Refusing those applications, judge Steven Keown said: “This was clearly a meticulously planned attack, with the sad reality being that those involved in such attacks clearly hold the view that they will continue to engage in such attacks if they have the opportunity."

Lawyers for the three questioned the strength of the evidence against their clients.

McGinty’s solicitor also claimed that representatives from MI5 had approached his client while he was in police custody.

While a solicitor for Carron did not make a bail application, he did challenge the basis upon which police were connecting his client to the charges.

During that remand hearing the PSNI officer outlined the evidence police believe connects all seven to the shooting, including details regarding the movements of three cars involved in the attack and cartridge discharge residue traces allegedly found on various items belonging to or associated with several of the accused.

Carron and Coyle stand further accused of belonging to a proscribed organisation, namely the IRA, while McGinty, McFarland and Matthew McLean are also charged with preparation of terrorist acts.

All seven were remanded to next appear before Omagh Magistrates’ Court on June 27.

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