David Black murder suspect to learn about extradition next month

A suspected dissident republican will hear next month whether he is to be extradited to Northern Ireland in connection with the murder of prison officer David Black, a court heard on Friday.

Damien McLaughlin, aged 41 and of Kilmascally Road near Ardboe, Co Tyrone, absconded from his bail address in west Belfast last November ahead of his trial in February, before being recaptured in March in the Republic.

He is charged with aiding and abetting the murder of prison officer David Black in November 2012 alongside other terror charges – all of which he denies.

During a review of the case at Belfast Crown Court, a prosecution lawyer told Mr Justice Colton: “The accused is facing extradition from Dublin to Northern Ireland.

“The matter was heard by Judge (Aileen) Donnelly. We understand the proceedings took place in Dublin on July 26, 2017 and she will deliver her ruling on October 20 this year.”

Mr Justice Colton agreed to adjourn the case which will be reviewed on October 27 following the Dublin extradition ruling.

McLaughlin’s disappearance only came to light in January this year when a prosecution lawyer asked in court for his bail to be revoked after he could not be found.

The lawyer said McLaughlin had failed to sign with police in November, and that on December 23, police called to his west Belfast address – but found it had been cleared out.

Following a massive cross-border manhunt, McLaughlin was eventually arrested in Ramelton, Co Donegal.