Trio to face trial over car used in UDA murder

John Boreland was murdered in north Belfast last August
John Boreland was murdered in north Belfast last August

Three men are to stand trial accused of destroying a car used in the murder of former loyalist paramilitary boss John Boreland, a judge has ordered.

Darren McAllister, 34, Thomas O’Hara, 30, and Thomas Pearson, 62, are jointly charged with carrying out an act intended to pervert the course of justice.

They allegedly set fire to a Renault Megane two days after Boreland was assassinated in north Belfast last August.

The 46-year-old ex-UDA leader was shot in Sunningdale Gardens as he walked home from his local bar. He died at the scene.

Police believe the gunman emerged from the car and fired a first shot into his chest.

When he went to his knees a second round was discharged into the top of his skull from above, prosecutors previously disclosed.

McAllister, of Carrs Glen Park in Belfast; O’Hara, from Brownhill Drive in Kilbirnie, north Ayrshire; and Pearson, of Rathglynn in Antrim, are allegedly linked to the Megane later discovered burnt out at Wheelers Road in Lisburn.

None of them have been charged with the actual murder.

Appearing together at Belfast Magistrates’ Court for a preliminary enquiry hearing, the three accused declined to give evidence or call witnesses.

A Crown lawyer contended that a prima facie case has been established on the perverting the course of justice allegations.

With defence representatives raising no dispute, District Judge Fiona Bagnall backed the prosecution submission.

She ordered all three men to be returned for Crown Court trial on a date to be fixed.

McAllister and Pearson were released on continuing bail, while O’Hara is to remain in custody.