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DCI John Caldwell: Over 150 mobile phones to be analysed in ‘meticulously planned’ murder bid

DCI John Caldwell
DCI John Caldwell

Over 150 mobile phones seized during the investigation into the attempted murder of DCI John Caldwell are to be analysed along with multiple other pieces of evidence it has emerged.

The update came from a detective attached to the PSNI’s Major Investigation Team during a review hearing as the incident – which was described as “meticulously planned” – approaches the one year mark.

Seven men are currently charged with attempting to murder DCI Caldwell, who was shot on February 22, last year, as he finished coaching a youth football team at the Omagh Youth Sport Centre.

The attack was claimed by the New IRA and allegedly involved organised criminals.

The accused are: Robert McLean (29) of Deveney Park, Omagh; James Ivor McLean (72) of the same address; Matthew McLean (33), Glenpark Road, Omagh; Jonathan McGinty (28) of St Julians Downs, Omagh; Brian Carron (38) of Claremount Drive, Coalisland; Gavin Coyle (45) of Killybrack Mews, Omagh; and Alan McFarland (47) of Deverney Park, Omagh.

Carron and Coyle are further accused of belonging to the IRA.

After the shooting, the assailants fled in a blue Ford Fiesta, which was later found burnt out near Racolpa Road in Omagh.

They then reportedly switched to a black Mercedes, which led them to Deverney Park where they went to the rear of a house then leave again in a white Transit Van

Both weapons used in the attack are still unaccounted for.

A further three men appeared in court several weeks later charged with preparing for acts of terrorism in relation to a Ford Fiesta believed to have been used in the attack.

They are James Gerard McSorley (58) from Chichester Mews, Belfast, John Andrew Gallagher (45) from Church Drive, Newtownabbey and Tony Thomas Slevin (47) from Derryloughan Road, Coalisland.

McSorley and Gallagher are also charged with possessing items and providing money or property for use in terrorism.

During the latest review the detective told Omagh Magistrates’ Court the full file in the case was submitted to the Public Prosecution Service on December 9 and a response is awaited.

He said: “Approximately 150 mobile phones have been sent for analysis and only so many can be examined at any one time. There is a lot of outstanding work in relation to those devices. A definitive time cannot be given but we are prioritising those relating to the defendants who are currently remanded in custody.”

The detective added: “Other matters required to be completed include forensic, digital and financial reports as well as further statements. The preliminary file contains around 9,000 pages.”

Defence counsel for a number of the accused remarked: “Obviously I’m aware of the complexity of the issues, but we are fast approaching the anniversary of the alleged incident date and it’s hoped there will be more definite progress. It’s important the rights which apply to all defendants cannot be ignored. They have been deprived of their liberty and that’s a very serious situation. They have a right and entitlement that matters are expedited.”

District Judge Francis Rafferty noted these comments and adjourned the case for further update on February 6.

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