Four men plead not guilty in connection with UDA feud killing

Four men and a woman have been ordered to stand trial in connection with the UDA feud murder of Colin Horner last year.

Mr Horner, 35, was shot dead in front of his three-year-old son in the carpark of a supermarket in Bangor, Co Down, on Sunday May 28, 2017.

Detectives have linked the murder to an ongoing South East Antrim UDA feud in which Geordie Gilmore was also shot to death two months earlier in Carrickfergus.

At Belfast Crown Court on Friday, four men pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Horner and also denied possessing a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life when the charges were put to them at an arraignment hearing.

They are: Joseph Blair, 35 and of Shackelton Walk; Robert Ralph, 47 and of Donaghadee Road; Alan James Wilson, 30 and of North Green, all in Newtownards; and Ryan Graham Smyth, 31 and of Windsor Gardens in Bangor.

Also in the dock with her co-accused was Terrie Aicken, 24 and of Green Road, Conlig, Newtownards, who pleaded not guitly to a charge of perverting the course of justice.

The charge stated that “on June 16, 2017, she provided a false statement to police”.

Defence lawyers for the accused said they would be engaging the services of experts in the fields of mapping, mobile phones and cell site analysis ahead of the trial.

The judge Mr Justice Colton set the date for the non-jury trial as January 14, 2019 which is expected to last four weeks.

Blair, Wilson, Smyth and Aicken were all released on continuing bail while Ralph was remanded back into custody.