Tears in courtroom as jury shown murdered Philip Strickland’s last movements


A jury in the trial of murdered Co Down man Philip Strickland yesterday watched his last recorded moments alive 15 minutes before he was blasted to death with a shotgun.

Members of Mr Strickland’s family sobbed in the public gallery as CCTV footage from a petrol station was played at Belfast Crown Court.

On trial for his murder are Jimmy Seales, 56, from Ballykeel Road, Hillsborough, and 26-year-old Stephen McCaughey, of Shackleton Walk, Newtownards.

Both men deny murdering Philip Strickland on the outskirts of Comber on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 and possessing a shotgun with intent to endanger life.

The jury heard there was ill feeling between Mr Strickland and Seales.

When Seales was attacked and left for dead in an assault which occurred in September 2011, Mr Strickland wrote comments about it on his Facebook page.

Two other men – brothers Ian and Jason Weir, who are the sons of Jimmy Seales – have already pleaded guilty to the murder.

The jury of ten men and two women watched the CCTV footage police had recovered from a petrol station known as “The Garage”, on the Killinchy Road in Comber, on the night of Mr Strickland’s murder.

A detective told the jury that Mr Strickland’s blue Citroen Saxo car could be seen on the CCTV footage driving into the forecourt of the petrol station shortly before 8.30pm.

The officer said Mr Strickland put £16 of petrol into his car and then walked into the shop to pay for his fuel.

Seconds later, the 37-year-old is seen on the CCTV camera walking out of the shop, getting into his Saxo Car. The jury watched as Mr Strickland then drove out of the forecourt and onto the Killinchy Road.

At a previous hearing, the jury heard that on the evening of the killing, Mr Strickland drove to a friend’s yard on the Ballyglighorn Road to collect oil drums. Jason Weir was present at the yard but he left when Mr Strickland arrived.

It is the Crown’s case that a short time after he left the scene, Jason Weir arrived back at the yard with his brother Ian, father Jimmy Seales and Stephen McCaughey. The Crown say Mr Strickland was dragged from his car, beaten by the Weir brothers and shot in the leg by Seales. The victim was then bundled into the boot of his own car, which left the yard and was driven onto the Ballydrain Road.

The jury heard the car came to an abrupt stop when Mr Strickland managed to escape from the boot. He was then shot in the face at point blank range and an attempt was made to burn the Saxo.

The trial continues.