Double shooting ‘linked to Lithuanian mafia’

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A double shooting carried out in Co Down is allegedly linked to the Lithuanian mafia, the High Court heard on Wednesday.

One of the two victims claimed he was abducted and warned he would be beaten for a week if he didn’t hand over £5,000 for suspected drug dealing, prosecutors said.

Details emerged as bail was granted to a man charged with two attempted murders over the allegedly linked gun attacks in Newry two months ago.

Ramunas Macnoris, 26, also faces counts of kidnapping, possessing a handgun with intent to commit attempted murder, driving while disqualified and without insurance or a licence.

Two men in their 30s were shot at Sandys Street and Armagh Road in the city on September 17.

Macnoris, a Lithuanian national, of Lambfield House in Dungannon, is alleged to have been driving a car used to abduct one of the pair from their home in Warrenpoint.

Prosecution counsel David McClean said that the alleged victim changed his account after initially claiming he was taken by local men.

“He later disclosed that he had been on the run from the Lithuanian mafia for a large drug debt for approximately three years,” the barrister said.

It was claimed the man was forced into a Volkswagen Passat at gunpoint and taken to Newry where he was shot in the leg.

Defence counsel stressed that Macnoris denies owning or driving the car said to have been used in the abduction.

With the accused’s partner prepared to put up a £5,000 cash surety, the judge decided bail could be granted.