A group of five men attacked Ian Ogle “like a pack of hyenas” as he stood praying with a pastor close to his east Belfast home, a murder trial heard on Tuesday.
The 45-year old father-of-two was beaten and stabbed a total of 11 times yards from his Cluan Place home at around 9.20pm on Sunday January 27, 2019.
CCTV of the 30-second attack which claimed Mr Ogle’s life was played during the first day of a trial into his murder.
Three men are standing trial at Belfast Crown Court. Glenn Rainey (37) whose address was given as Ballyhalbert Caravan Park, Walter Alan Ervine (42) from Litchfield Street in Belfast and 41-year old Robert Spiers from Millars Park in Dundonald have all denied the murder charge.
Two co-accused - Jonathan Brown (38) from Whinney Hill in Dundonald and 45-year old Mark Sewell of Glenmount Drive in Newtownabbey - pleaded guilty to murdering Mr Ogle earlier this month and were handed life sentences.
As the Crown opened its case against Rainey, Ervine and Spiers to Mr Justice McFarland, it emerged that Mr Ogle’s murder followed over a year of tensions in east Belfast between his family and another group of men.
A senior prosecutor told the non-jury hearing that an “altercation” occurred in the Prince Albert Bar on July 1, 2017.
This involved Ian Ogle and his son Ryan Johnston “on one side” and Glenn Rainey, Jonathan Brown and Alan Ervine “on the other.”
Saying this incident resulted in “ongoing tensions”, the prosecutor revealed that 35 minutes before Ian Ogle was attacked, both he and his son Ryan were involved in an assault on the Beersbridge Road.
The father and son got out of a car and attacked Neil Ogle, a cousin of Ian Ogle, as he walked along the Beersbridge Road.
It’s the Crown’s case that this attack on Neil Ogle was “by way of a reprisal” for the previous incident in the Albert Bar when Neil Ogle “failed to intervene on the side of his family.”
Following this, the Crown barrister spoke of “a group being assembled in order to mount the attack on Ian Ogle” which he said included mobile phone activity between Brown, Spiers, Rainey, Sewell and Ervine.
Just minutes before the attack, CCTV from a Glider bus on the Albertbridge Road captured a group of five men walking towards Cluan Place.
The Crown barrister said Ian Ogle stopped to speak with a pastor and they prayed together.
“The pastor then became aware of the group of five approaching and saw them attack Ian Ogle ‘like a pack of hyenas’, laying into him.
“He described at least one bat or baton striking Ian Ogle multiple times and, when he went to ground, his head was stamped on repeatedly.”
A second piece of CCTV taken from same Glider bus stop recorded five men - two running and three walking - in the moments following the attack.
It’s the Crown’s case that Ervine was captured on this footage carrying a long brass implement in his left hand whilst Spiers was carrying an item which the prosecution contend “may be a knife.”
Telling Mr Justice McFarland that paramedics arrived on the scen and “it was clear to the paramedic that he was dead”, the prosecutor said.
“The blood was pumping out of him and there were stab wounds to his shoulder.
“Stab wounds were also observed to his back but there were too many to count with any accuracy.”
He was rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital but later died.
A post-mortem conducted on January 29, 2019 concluded Mr Ogle had been stabbed 11 times in the back.
He also sustained a fracture to the skull and bruises to his face, head and other parts of the body caused by punches and kicks.
Turning to the three accused, the prosecutor spoke of cell site evidence, CCTV footage, DNA evidence, clothing identification and their movements in the aftermath of the murder - all of which will feature in the case against them.
It also emerged that the day after the murder Rainey flew from Dublin Airport to Thailand, while Ervine went to Scotland via the ferry from Larne.
Ervine returned on February 3 through Belfast Port and was arrested the next day while Rainey was apprehended on March 3 at Manchester Airport after arriving from Bangkok. Spiers was arrested two days after the murder at a house in east Belfast.
All three deny the murder.
Four co-accused have pleaded guilty to ‘lesser’ charges arising from the murder and have been told they will be sentenced at a later date, as will Jonathan Brown and Mark Sewell.