Attempted murder accused not allowed to attend Carrick funeral

The Royal Oak bar in Carrick. Pic by Press Eye.
The Royal Oak bar in Carrick. Pic by Press Eye.

A Carrickfergus man accused of trying to kill a bouncer in a suspected loyalist feud attack cannot return to the town for a family funeral, a High Court judge ruled today.

Ian Sinclair, 37, was refused permission amid fears his temporary presence may heighten tensions and put his own safety at risk.

Madam Justice McBride held that Sinclair’s attendance would provoke more interest than that of his 50-year-old brother Brian, who is to be allowed at the ceremony.

The pair are among three men charged with the attempted murder of a doorman allegedly beaten with a fire extinguisher at the Royal Oak Bar in the town.

He suffered a blood clot to the brain, along with multiple skull and facial fractures in the assault on March 11, according to police.

Detectives also revealed he underwent physiotherapy for walking and talking skills, and may never return to his main job as a French polisher.

Ian Sinclair, of Elizabeth Avenue, Brian Sinclair, from O’Rorkes Row, and 52-year-old Glen McCullough, of Castlemara Drive - all in Carrickfergus - are accused of launching the attack after being refused entry to the pub.

Police have linked the incident to ongoing tensions between rival factions in the town.

High-profile loyalist George Gimore was murdered days after the alleged pub attack.

The 44-year-old had been in the public gallery when Sinclair and his co-accused made their first appearance at Laganside Courts in Belfast.

Ian Sinclair was granted High Court bail last week on terms which, like his brother’s release from custody, included a ban on entering Carrickfergus.

Prosecutors opposed his bid to vary those terms for the funeral, claiming he retains stronger connections to the town than Brian Sinclair, who moved away years ago.

A Crown lawyer argued that greater police resources would be required to ensure his safety.

The court also heard how Ian Sinclair himself referred to an ongoing feud during police interviews.

“He was talking about the injured party having been cheeky to him and refusing him entry to the Royal Oak Bar,” the prosecutor added.

Jon Paul Shields, defending, insisted Sinclair only referred to him being potentially targeted because of his friendship with Gilmore, not through any UDA connections.

The barrister contended that police would be in the area anyway to ensure nothing happens to his client’s brother.

But referring to Brian Sinclair, the judge said: “His attendance wouldn’t provoke the same interest at the funeral as this applicant.

“This applicant is known in the area and those involved in the feud place him on one side or the other.”

Denying permission, she added: “There would be a raising of tensions (and) there’s a real concern in terms of the safety of the applicant.”