Assault case could still go ahead despite death of alleged victim

The prosecution case against two Co Antrim men accused of serious assault “may still proceed” despite their alleged victim dying recently, a court has heard.

Joel Hawthorn, 21, from Bardic Drive in Larne, is accused of inflicting grievous bodily harm on Connor Murray while his co-accused, 21-year-old Jordan Brown, from Hillview Road in Carrickfergus, is charged with causing Mr Murray actual bodily harm and having a knife with intent on September 13 last year.

At Ballymena Magistrates’ Court, a prosecuting lawyer revealed there “has been a development” on the case in that “unfortunately, the injured party passed away”.

She added, however, that a PPS directing officer had spoken to Mr Murray’s family and that the prosecution “may well proceed”.

Mr Murray, 23, passed away last Wednesday, five days after falling into the fast-flowing Inver River the previous Friday.

Family and friends gathered on Wednesday of this week to say a final farewell at a service at Ballycraigy Methodist Church in Larne, and later at Roselawn crematorium in Belfast.

The former Larne Grammar pupil has been described as “a Larne man through and through”.

In court, District Judge Nigel Broderick said he would review the case in four weeks.