Northern Ireland news

Three men found not guilty of the UDA feud murder of loyalist rival Geordie Gilmore

Robert Darren McMaw leaving Belfast Laganside Courts yesterday

THREE men have been found not guilty of the UDA feud murder of loyalist rival Geordie Gilmore.

Brian Roy McLean (37), of Valetta Park, Newtownards, Robert Darren McMaw (34), of Kilgreel Road, Antrim and his younger brother Samuel David McMaw (30), of Starborg Road, Kilwaughter in Larne, were acquitted of his murder, the attempted murder of another man and possession of a firearm with intent.

After a lengthy judgment which took the trial judge four and a half hours to deliver, Mr Justice McAlinden said he had not been persuaded "beyond a reasonable doubt'' about the guilty of all three in the murder.

The verdict was met with cheers from the defendants in the dock along with associates inside and outside the courtroom where police had had a significant presence throughout the proceedings.

Brian Roy McClean leaving Belfast Laganside Courts yesterday

Mr Gilmore was shot and critically injured on Monday, March 13, 2017, as he drove along Pinewood Avenue in Carrickfergus in his white Vauxhall Insignia car.

However, the 44-year-old died in hospital the following day from a "catastrophic brain injury as a result of a bullet wound''.

Geordie Gilmore was murdered on March 13, 2017

It was the prosecution case that Mr Gilmore's two-car convoy had been followed to Carrick from Belfast Magistrates' Court where he had been attending the case of three men charged with an attack on a doorman in a Carrickfergus bar days earlier.

When they returned to Carrick, the Gilmore party stopped at a bakery in the town centre before travelling to the Woodlands estate, where his car was shot at six times.

The Crown claimed that the gunman who fired at the Insignia was David McMaw while Brian Roy McLean acted as a look-out, and that Darren McMaw involved himself in a "scouting exercise" by following Mr Gilmore in his van prior to the fatal gun attack.

All three defendants declined to give evidence during the trial and all denied the offences against them.

Giving his ruling yesterday, Mr Justice McAlinden said the evidence of three Crown witnesses in the case, including the testimony of George Gilmore jnr, the son of the victim, were "incapable of belief and no conviction in this case would be safely founded with this evidence''.

He said in the light of the defendants not giving evidence at their trial, he could "draw adverse inferences'' in relation to circumstantial evidence put forward by the Crown against them.

However, Mr Justice McAlinden said that after giving "careful and anxious consideration'' of all the circumstantial evidence against the three defendants, he was finding the trio "not guilty'' on all the charges they faced.

As there were no applications from either the Crown or the defence, Darren McMaw and Brian Roy McLean walked free from court.

David McMaw was remanded back into custody on other matters.

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