Elliott calls for stricter bail conditions following David Black murder case development

David Black was murdered on his way to work in November 2012
David Black was murdered on his way to work in November 2012

The former Ulster Unionist Party leader Tom Elliott says he was appalled to learn a suspect in the murder of Cookstown prison officer, David Black, whose widow Yvonne worked as a cancer nurse in Altnagelvin, last signed bail in November.

A warrant for the arrest of Damien Joseph McLaughlin, of Kilmascally Road in Dungannon, was issued at a court in Belfast on Friday.

McLaughlin is due to stand trial, on February 20, on charges, including aiding and abetting murder, of which he has pleaded not guilty.

Following the development, Mr Elliott said he believed any suspect accused of a serious crime should henceforth be refused bail.

“Anyone charged with murder in some other countries outside Northern Ireland would be incarcerated for as long as necessary to allow judicial proceedings to take place, however in Northern Ireland there seems to be a habit of allowing people charged with serious crimes such as murder to have a relaxed time outside prison,” said the former UUP leader.

“I find it disgusting that McLaughlin may have absconded, whilst the Black family will never get to see David again,” he said.