A Co Down farmer accused of blasting a man to death with a shotgun told police he didn’t have a firearms licence as he had “no interest in guns”, a jury heard yesterday.
Jimmy Seales is accused of murdering Philip Strickland (pictured below) on the Ballydrain Road on the outskirts of Comber on January 11, 2012.
The 37-year old Comber man was shot in the leg in a yard, bundled into the back of his own car and driven a short distance before being shot in the face at point blank range.
The 56-year old, from Ballykeel Road in Hillsborough, is one of four men accused of the murder, but has consistently denied being at the scene.
Seales – who was severely beaten in an assault five months before the murder – claimed on the evening of the killing he watched Emmerdale then went to bed early.
The jury at Belfast Crown Court heard interviews police had conducted with Seales in the days following the murder. He was arrested and released, but then rearrested after a witness put him at the scene.
When asked by police if he had a firearms licence, Seales said he did not.
When asked if he had ever fired a gun, he replied: “I have done it once, just up in the air. I’ve never shot anything – a rabbit or bird or anything.”
He also told police he had “no interest in guns”, and said: “I have never killed a thing in my life, honestly.”
The jury heard that when Seales was rearrested and questioned about the murder of Philip Strickland, he denied involvement. When asked if he murdered Mr Strickland, Seales replied “No.”
The trial has already heard evidence from two witnesses who place Seales at the murder scene, armed with a shotgun. One of those witnesses is Seales’ son Ian, who along with his brother Jason have already pleaded guilty to murder. A fourth man, 26-year old Stephen McCaughey of Shackelton Walk, Newtownards, denies the charge and is standing trial alongside Seales.
The trial is due to resume next Monday.