Mother and daughter remanded in connection with Ballymoney murder

33-year-old Steven Peck died following a serious assault on 3 January. Credit: Pacemaker

The mother and sister of two men allegedly involved in a fatal attack in County Antrim have appeared in court accused of interfering with the investigation. 

Steven Peck died following a serious assault in Ballymoney on 3 January.

He was found by a dog walker on a pathway close to football pitches at the back of the leisure centre on Garryduff Road in the town.

The 33-year-old had sustained a head injury and passed away in hospital last weekend.

46-year-old Easther McCook has been charged with assisting offenders, while her 29-year-old daughter Lisa Gemmell was charged with perverting the course of justice.

Ms McCook, from the Urbal Road in Dervock, is alleged that knowing a murder had occurred, she provided a false alibi and interfered with witnesses while Ms Gemmell, from Union Street in Ballymoney, is alleged to have perverted justice by destroying evidence in relation to the murder.

54-year-old David Austin, and brothers 28-year-old Stephen and 24-year-old Brian McCook have been charged with attempted murder.

It is the police case Mr Peck was having an affair with Mrs Austin and he believed he was meeting her but instead, he was confronted by the defendants who attacked him and he was “left basically to die.”

Mr Peck died less than 24 hours after the trio appeared in court accused of his attempted murder.

In court on Wednesday, Detective Constable Gillen said the case against Easther McCook was that while the three men were carrying out the attack, she allegedly stayed with Mrs Austin and had her phone which would have prevented her from contacting either Mr Peck to warn him or the police.

The court heard that Ms McGook had also tried to provide false alibis for her sons.

He added that the case against Ms Gemmell was that she went to the Austin’s house sometime after the attack and having taken Mrs Austin’s phone from her, she allegedly deleted data and contact details from it.

The mother and daughter were remanded in custody until next month.

More reading: Two women charged following Ballymoney murder