Murder accused breached bail by drinking alcohol at birthday meal

Richard Dalzell is charged with the murder of Mark Lamont

Richard Dalzell is charged with the murder of Mark Lamont

A window cleaner accused of murder was remanded in to custody yesterday for breaching bail for drinking while out for a meal to mark the 15th anniversary of meeting his partner.

Richard Dalzell is charged with murdering 54-year-old Mark Lamont in Coleraine last year.

Dalzell (35), of Whinpark Road, Newtownards, was on bail which included an alcohol ban and a ban from licensed premises.

However, he was brought before Antrim Magistrates Court yesterday where his lawyer admitted the breach.

A detective sergeant told the court police received information on Monday that Dalzell was in licensed premises at Regent Street in Newtownards.

CCTV showed him on the premises, described by the defence lawyer as a bistro, at 5.30pm on Sunday.

The officer said till receipts showed wine and beer was bought by the couple.

When arrested Dalzell said: “It was just a bit of lunch.”

The officer said police had objected to bail from the start and said the original incident was “alcohol-fuelled”.

A prosecutor said there was a real risk of further offences.

The defence lawyer said Dalzell’s partner invited him out to mark their 15th anniversary.

The lawyer said the ongoing case had put a strain on the relationship because there were allegations “of other parties involved”.

He said Dalzell felt they were getting through it and his partner asked him to go for a meal and after ordering food his client made a rash decision to take a drink.

The lawyer said Dalzell is making the case that he was acting in self-defence during the Coleraine incident.

District Judge Peter King said he was aware of the “unhappy genesis” of the murder allegation.

He said he had previously refused bail and a subsequent application in the High Court was granted which “attracted a degree of commentary”.

Refusing bail, the judge said he accepted it was not the most outrageous breach but against that he was on bail for the most serious matter.

The case was adjourned to February 13.

Mark Lamont, a father of three and a grandfather, died on October 11 following an incident at Ballycastle Road, Coleraine, in September.