Three men were remanded in custody today accused of destroying a car sought by detectives investigating the murder of a former loyalist paramilitary boss.
Ex-Ulster Defence Association brigadier John Boreland, 46, was gunned down as he walked to his flat in north Belfast on August 7.
Thomas O’Hara, 29, Darren McAllister, 33, and Thomas Pearson, 61, are all charged with perverting the course of justice in connection with the killing.
O’Hara, from Brownhill Drive, Kilbirnie, north Ayrshire, was detained by police in Scotland.
Belfast men McAllister, of Carrs Glen Park, and Pearson, from Cliftondene Park, were arrested in the north of the city.
All three appeared at Belfast Magistrates’ Court amid heavy security.
High-profile loyalist Andre Shoukri, a close associate of the murder victim, was among those present in the public gallery.
The two friends were allegedly targeted in a previous gun attack back in 2014.
Siting alongside members of the Boreland family, Shoukri glared at the three men in the dock throughout the hearing.
Boreland was shot at Sunningdale Gardens, minutes after he left his local bar. He died at the scene.
O’Hara, McAllister and Pearson are accused of destroying a silver Renault Megane sought by police in connection with the murder on a date between August 6-11.
All three of them spoke only to confirm they understood the allegation against them.
A detective sergeant told the court he could connect the trio to the charge.
No further details about the case were disclosed in court.
Defence lawyers put no questions to the officer, and said they were not seeking bail at this stage.
O’Hara’s solicitor added: “He’s a family man who resides in Scotland with his partner and two children.
“He’s keen to get back there as soon as possible.”
District Judge Eamonn King ordered the three accused to be remanded in custody.
They are due to appear again in court, via video-link, on October 13. ends