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Thursday, 12 October 2017

Apprehension of Lesley-Ann co-accused "may well be imminent" - Judge.

A co-accused in the death of Lesley-Ann Mc- Carragher remains at large, although his apprehension "may well be imminent, Armagh Magistrates Court has been told. A European Arrest Warrant is live but a second warrant must be signed off in the Republic of Ireland, and this also imminent.

The popular teenager was struck by a vehicle in an alleged hit-and-run incident at Monaghan Road, Armagh. She was airlifted to hospital but passed away from her injuries.

The update came from police who attended a review hearing in the case at Armagh Magistrates Court. A prosecuting lawyer explained the co-accused "will hopefully be joined" to the case within weeks and it is anticipated his location will be known to the court shorty.

Eighteen-year old Nathan Finn of Keady Road, Armagh is alleged to have caused Lesley-Anne's death by dangerous driving on 9 April 2016, as well as causing death whilst an uninsured driver and without a Driving Licence.

HIS case is ready for transfer to crown court for trial, but it cannot move in absence of the co-accused.

However a defence solicitor for Finn expressed concerns. He said, "My client is on very strict bail terms for some duration and the case is hanging over his head. I believe he should be committed for trial and the indictments should be split.

Obviously the bail restrictions and the case itself is causing my client and his family a huge amount of distress." But District Judge Paul Copeland said, "In the absence of the co-accused at this point I do not feel it is in the interests of justice to separate the cases. I also do not feel there is inappropriate or disproportionate impact on the defendant (Finn.) Justice in my view requires both to be tried together. From what the court has heard today, apprehension of the co-accused may well be imminent." The case was adjourned for an update later this month.

Unlike Finn, who was arrested, charged and appeared in court at the outset, the co-accused is not on bail.

Finn remains on continuing bail which was granted after he was first charged on 11 April 2016, except for a period of remand in custody at his own request, just under two weeks later. He went on to be readmitted to bail in the sum of 200 with strict conditions including no contact with any members of the McCarragher family or any witnesses, and weekly signing with police. In addition he is prohibited from driving any vehicle, nor is he to travel in any private vehicle unless it is driven by his father, brother or sister.

Finally, he is banned from taking any drug unless it is prescribed by a doctor and is not to enter licensed premises or consume any alcohol at any time.

Lesley-Ann's parents and other family members were seated in the public gallery for the hearing.

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