Wife pleaded for dying man to fight for life following loyalist assault
THE widow of Coleraine man Kevin McDaid pleaded with him not to die as a police officer tried to save the 49-year-old’s life following an attack by loyalists, a court has heard. Evelyn McDaid told how a group of men shouting “We’re the UDA” descended on her street and set upon her Catholic husband Kevin and neighbour Damien Fleming after Rangers had won the Scottish Premiership title in May 2009.
A judge heard dramatic details of how Mr McDaid collapsed outside his Somerset Drive home and his wife cried “fight, fight Kevin” as attempts were made to resuscitate him. Another witness described how the father-of-four had been kicked “everywhere possible”, while one of Damien Fleming’s attackers had “used his head like a rugby ball”. Neighbour Leona Whittaker claimed defendant Francis Daly had held on to a garden fence “to get himself balanced or whatever” before landing a kick on Mr Fleming, who suffered serious injuries. “I asked him was that the best he could do to an alcoholic, a man who didn’t have the hands to bless himself,” she said. Twelve men are charged with the manslaughter of Mr McDaid and attempted murder of Mr Fleming and other counts of assault and public order offences. A further two men are charged with making threats to kill and intimidation. A preliminary inquiry was held on Tuesday 31st December to determine whether they have a case to answer at trial. It is claimed a group of loyalists traveled to the Killowen area of Coleraine’s Heights estate to take down tricolours and Celtic flags put up as Celtic FC and Rangers FC were playing separate matches at the culmination of the Scottish league title race. Evelyn McDaid described the men who arrived as “like a mob” and said her husband “seemed to disappear” among them. She claimed Mr Daly repeatedly punched and kicked her. Ryan MMcDaid, a son of the dead man, on Tuesday named six men he claimed had attacked his father. He also told a court how a “loyalist mob” was “kicking and jumping all over” Mr Fleming in the Pate’s Lane/Somerset Drive area. Another witness named three people she said had kicked Mr McDaid as he lay on the ground. Leona Whittaker said she was struck and kicked by John Thompson and also kicked by Frank (Francis) Daly and John McGrath. “A crowd of people just started attacking him, kicking him as he lay on the ground; everywhere possible, his face, his chest, his sides, his legs,” she said. Asked how she knew the defendant John Thompson, she replied: “Before religion was a problem in Coleraine he ran about with my brother.”
Ms Whittaker also claimed Francis Daly had assaulted her as she tried to help Mr McDaid’s injured wife Evelyn and when she told him she was pregnant he replied “Too bad”. The 30-year-old said Mrs McDaid was “getting punched in the face and kicked in the face” as she lay behind a car and had been pushed when she went to her husband’s aid. Mrs McDaid in turn told the court Mr Daly had hit and kicked her. Another of Kevin McDaid’s sons, Mark, told North Antrim Magistrate’s Court, sitting at Belfast on Tuesday, that “the police were up two or three times to ask for the flags to be took down”. Another neighbour, Michael McCormack, said a police officer had “asked if the flags could come down and we said they would be down first thing in the morning”. He claimed when the group arrived John Thompson had shouted secterian abuse and then “it was like a tap had been turned on…. and they all started to come into the square at Pate’s Lane”. Mrs McDaid said she had also seen Mr Daly kick Mr Fleming and “I shouted to ‘stop kicking him you are going to kill him’ but they kept going on”. Mr Fleming gave evidence that John McGrath had “hit me a punch in the face”, and then “someone hit me on the back of the neck and I went down”. He told the court he had heard someone say: “There’s one of the Fenian bastards there’ and after that there I was kicked around the place”. Leona Whittaker’s sister-in-law Kelly Whittaker claimed the group had shouted: “We’re the UDA, we’re here to kick some Fenians’ heads in”. She said she shouted for the men to leave Mr Fleming alone, saying “he’s only a drunk man”, but “all I got was ‘he’s a f***king Fenian isn’t he, he’s getting what he deserves’.” Another witness, Danny Kennedy, said he saw defendant Paul Newman strike both Mr and Mrs McDaid with a piece of wood. Twelve men are charged with the manslaughter of Mr McDaid and attempted murder of Mr Fleming and other counts of assault and public order offences. The defendants are: David Craig Cochrane (23), Aaron Beech (28) and David James John Cochrane (52) all with addresses in Winyhall Park in Coleraine; Frank Simpson Daly (52) of Knock Road, Dervock; Paul Andrew Newman (49) of Grasmere Close, Coleraine; John Thompson (34), Knocknougher Road, Macosquin; James McAfee (32) and Ivan Beattie McDowell (47), both with addresses in Lisnablagh Road, Coleraine; Philip Kane (39) of Heron Way in Derry and Rodney Gardner (45) from Duncarn Road in Limavady. Two other men, Jonathan Norman Stirling (24) of Windyhall Park in Coleraine, and John Freeman (24) from Tullans Park, Coleraine, are charged with making threats to kill and intimidation. Following completion of all witness evidence, District Judge Desmond Perry adjourned the hearing and released all the defendants on continuing bail.
With many thanks to: Maeve CoConnolly, The Irish News.
- Catholic community worker Kevin McDaid died after ‘being kicked everywhere possible by loyalists’ – court hears (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Loyalists hold picket as UDA split deepens (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Twelve in court on manslaughter charge (bbc.co.uk)
- Uda at War: Cops Fear Fresh Feud Inside Terror Group (belfastdaily.co.uk)