Police flank Lamont murder accused as he leaves court

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Police flanked a Newtownards man accused of murder as he left court in Coleraine on continuing bail on Monday due to ongoing tensions surrounding the case.

Officers were inside Coleraine Magistrates Court as 36-year-old Richard Dalzell, who is charged with murdering 54-year-old Mark Lamont in Coleraine, had his case further adjourned until June.

Dalzell, a window cleaner, of Whinpark Road, Newtownards, was accompanied to court by a number of men.

He is accused of killing Mr Lamont in September last year.

There were no reports of any incidents during the short hearing but due to ongoing tension surrounding the case, police were present in the courtroom and the PSNI flanked him as he left the building and court grounds.

During a previous hearing in the case, in October last year, there were tense scenes in the grounds of Coleraine Magistrates Court when remarks were shouted at the accused.

At that hearing a large number of police officers were present in the court waiting room area and also in the courtroom when Dalzell appeared.

Members of the deceased’s family were present at that court and as Dalzell was released on continuing bail, one person followed him outside and shouted remarks at him including the words “f--king scumbag”.

The heckler was surrounded by ten police officers in the grounds of the court who ordered him not to leave until Dalzell left the area.

There had been similar scenes at Ballymena Magistrates Court previously when Dalzell first appeared in court on the murder charge.

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

When Dalzell was released on bail the High Court heard prosecutors claim Dalzell launched a fatal attack after Mark Lamont went to a house on the town’s Ballycastle Road for a second time.

A neighbour reported seeing Mr Lamont’s head being jumped on during a street incident in the early hours of September 26 and the Coleraine man died in hospital on October 11.

The accused denies murder, insisting he acted in self-defence.

He had spent the day leading up to the alleged attack drinking with a woman at the Forge Bar in Coleraine.

Prosecution counsel Conor Maguire told the High Court they left following a verbal altercation with three men, who included Mr Lamont and an ex-partner of the woman.

It was claimed three hooded men, one of whom was the deceased, later entered the woman’s property without invitation.

All three men exited following a minor physical and verbal confrontation with Dalzell, the court heard.

But according to the prosecution Mr Lamont was subjected to a serious assault when he returned to the house.

Also at the earlier High Court hearing, Mark Farrell, defending, said his client gave police a full and frank account of acting in self-defence.