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Murder victim’s mother knew of UVF threat against son, trial told

Comber murder victim Philip Strickland

Comber murder victim Philip Strickland

The mother of Co Down murder victim Philip Strickland said she was aware of a UVF threat issued against her son four or five years before his death, a jury heard yesterday.

In a statement read at Belfast Crown Court on behalf of Elizabeth Dempster, she said her 37-year-old son had been threatened by the UVF and told to stay out of Comber following a fight in a local bar.

The statement also revealed that police told Mr Strickland of a second threat against him while he was living on the Ballybeen estate, but she was not aware why this second threat had been issued.

Mrs Dempster’s statement also revealed Philip’s “attitude changed” when he was put out of Comber, and that he started saying what he wanted.

She said she was also aware that Philip had put comments on Facebook about Jimmy Seales being assaulted, in September 2011. In her statement, she described her son as a “grafter” who wasn’t perfect but was well liked, popular and who “never would have hurt anyone”.

Mr Strickland was shot in the face at point blank range with a shotgun on the Ballydrain Road on the outskirts of Comber in January 2012.

On trial for his murder are Jimmy Seales, 56, from Ballykeel Road in Hillsborough, and 26-year old Stephen McCaughey, of Shackleton Walk, Newtownards.

Both men deny murdering Philip Strickland on the outskirts of Comber on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 and possessing a shotgun with intent to endanger life.

Seales’ two sons Ian and Jason Weir have already pleaded guilty to the murder.

The trial continues.

 
 
 

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