Two men have been remanded in custody after appearing in court on charges connected to the murder of Padraig Fox in Newcastle, Co Down on Saturday 8 December.
Donach Rice, 21 and from Kilkeel Road in Annalong, appeared in the dock at Newtownards Magistrates’ Court charged with murder.
He also faces two counts of perverting the course of justice by knowingly giving a false statement to police and submitting himself to a knife wound “to give the false impression the wound had been inflicted by self-defence”.
Rice is further charged with:
- burglary of the Slieve Donard Hotel, where he allegedly stole three bottles of alcohol
- attempted robbery of cash from a man
- fraud by false representation over cashing a betting slip
The charges arise after the victim’s body was found inside a flat in the Burrendale Park Road area.
It is understood Mr Fox had only moved there a few months earlier.
Giving evidence to the court, a detective inspector said he believed he could connect Rice to the charges against him.
Under cross examination, he agreed that Mr Fox’s “tragic death was delivered by one punch”, but added that “the victim had been assaulted prior to that one punch”.
A defence solicitor for Rice told the court: “I have been asked by the defendant, who has made admissions to delivering that one punch, asked specifically by him to convey his heartfelt apologies to the family of the deceased.”
As there was no application for bail, District Judge Mark Hamill remanded Rice into custody to appear at Downpatrick Magistrates’ Court via videolink on 3 January.
Later, 26-year-old Paul Patrick Magennis - from Burrendale Park close to where Mr Fox was killed – appeared in the same dock accused of theft, two counts of perverting the course of justice, and the attempted robbery of cash.
Magennis is also alleged to have perverted justice by allowing himself to be inflicted with a knife wound “following the murder of Padraig Fox to give the false impression of self-defence”, but also by having “placed a knife under the hand of Padraig Fox following his murder”.
The detective inspector said he believed he could connect Magennis to each of the offences.
There was no application for bail and Magennis was remanded in custody to appear again on 3 January.
Meanwhile, a 20-year-old man has been arrested on Wednesday morning by detectives investigating Mr Fox’s murder.
He is being held on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.