Ian Ogle murder accused was ‘missing for six weeks’

Ian Ogle was murdered in east Belfast in January
Ian Ogle was murdered in east Belfast in January
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A man charged with murdering Belfast community worker Ian Ogle could not be found for six weeks after the killing, a court has heard.

Details of police attempts to locate 40-year-old Mark Sewell emerged as he was refused bail.

Mr Ogle, 45, was beaten and stabbed 11 times by up to five men shortly after praying with a pastor near his Cluan Place home in the east of the city on January 27.

Police have linked the killing to a long-running feud between the victim’s family and others in the area.

Sewell, of Aigburth Park in Belfast, is the third man to be charged with the murder.

Opposing his bid to be released from custody, police set out details of his alleged connection to the attack.

A detective told Belfast Magistrates’ Court that Sewell had been identified on CCTV.

It was claimed, however, that when police subsequently went to try to question him, he “could not be found for six weeks”.

Sewell’s legal representatives insisted there was no evidence he had left Northern Ireland, adding that detectives accepted this.

A defence lawyer referred to tensions in east Belfast and emphasised how his client later handed himself in to police for questioning.

The court also heard the accused will be “robustly protesting his innocence”.

But despite being told Sewell was willing to abide by a curfew and wear an electronic tag, District Judge George Conner denied bail.

Mr Conner cited concerns over his alleged “disappearance” and potential interference with witnesses.

Sewell, who can appeal the ruling to the High Court, was remanded in custody to appear again by video-link later this month.