Northern Ireland

Alan Lundy gets bail in chief inspector Caldwell shooting case

Senior police officer was shot and seriously injured in front of his son

Alan Lundy named in court as New IRA OC in Belfast
Alan Lundy pictured at an Easter commemoration in Milltown Cemetery last year (Mal McCann)

A Belfast man who allegedly played an “integral” role in acquiring and disposing of cars used in the bid to kill a top PSNI detective is to be granted bail, a High Court judge has ruled.

Prosecutors claim the vehicles were purchased, stored and then supplied to others involved in the gun attack on DCI John Caldwell on the directions of 45-year-old Alan Lundy.

Lundy, of Flax Street in the Ardoyne district, is one of eight men charged with the attempted murder in February last year.

Mr Justice O’Hara granted his application for bail on strict conditions, including a prohibition on attending any protests or meetings related to dissident republican activity.

DCI Caldwell was shot and seriously wounded in front of his son just after he had finished coaching a youth football team at sports facilities in Omagh, Co Tyrone.

Two men wearing dark waterproof clothing approached him and opened fire, striking him several times.

The gunmen made their getaway in a Ford Fiesta, fitted with false number plates and discovered burnt out later that night, before switching to another car.

John Caldwell was shot in 2023
John Caldwell was shot in 2023 (Brian Lawless/PA)

Although the New IRA claimed responsibility for the attempted assassination, detectives believe other criminal factions joined forces with the dissident republican grouping to target someone regarded as their joint enemy.

Lundy also faces charges of directing terrorism and preparation of terrorist acts in connection with the attack.

The court heard claims that he took part in meetings with other key figures which led to significant IRA operational activity related to the shooting.

“Alan Lundy was integral to the acquisition, storage, transport and disposal of vehicles used in the attack on DCI Caldwell,” a prosecution barrister submitted.

“These vehicles were either purchased or stored in Belfast before being supplied to those involved in the attack in Tyrone, on the direction of Alan Lundy.”

In a circumstantial case, it was alleged that the meetings arranged by a short phone call followed a similar pattern:

Those attending travelled to the agreed location, left their mobiles behind in houses or vehicles and engaged in conversation by “walk and talk”.

Participants held leadership roles, discussing operational plans which were then passed on to others carrying out the activities in Belfast and Co Tyrone.

Counsel revealed that seven phones were seized during a search of Lundy’s property, but no passcodes for the devices were provided.

She claimed the circumstances related to the accused added a further “sinister” dimension to the attack.

Defence barrister Michael Forde challenged the strength of the evidence to connect Lundy to any of the charges, describing it as “an inherently weak case”.

He argued that that prosecution only had “fragile threads” of contacts with two co-accused over a period of months without any knowledge of what was discussed.

Granting bail, Mr Justice O’Hara ordered the defendant to live at an alternative address outside Belfast.

Lundy was also banned from contacting others charged as part of the investigation, making prison visits or attending any premises operated by the hardline republican group Saoradh.