John Caldwell: Man charged with senior detective attempted murder

John Caldwell
John Caldwell was off duty when he was shot at a sports complex in Omagh

A man has appeared in court charged with the attempted murder of Det Ch Insp John Caldwell in February last year.

The senior detective was off duty when he was gunned down at a sports complex after coaching a youth football team in Omagh, County Tyrone.

Alan Lundy, 44, from Flax Street in Belfast appeared via video link at Dungannon Magistrates' Court.

He is also charged with preparing terrorist acts and directing terrorism.

The court heard he was accused of directing the activities of the Irish Republican Army [IRA].

Dissident republican group the New IRA has claimed responsibility for the attack.

'Integral' to the attack

When the charges were read to Mr Lundy, he refused to respond to the court.

A detective sergeant from serious crime branch told the court that police could connect Mr Lundy to the charges.

He said the accused was "integral to the acquisition, storage, transport and disposal of vehicles used in the attack of Mr Caldwell", and that he was involved in a series of meetings and conversations with other individuals connected to the case.

The detective sergeant made it clear to the court that there was no evidence connecting Mr Lundy to the scene of the attack itself.

He also told the court that police believed there was an attempt to carry out an attack on Mr Caldwell three weeks prior to the shooting on 22 February that left him fighting for his life.

He said the football training session that was scheduled for the night in question had been "unexpectedly cancelled" and Mr Caldwell was not there.

'Created a narrative'

The court heard the case against Mr Lundy was circumstantial and based on phone evidence, number plate recognition, CCTV, and a police interview in which the accused refused to comment.

No application for bail has yet been made.

A solicitor representing the accused said: "Police have created a narrative that is not supported by any evidence that this court can rely on to connect [Mr Lundy] to these charges."

Separately, three members of the public were removed from the court following a disturbance during the hearing.

One man, who was identified to the court, shouted "justice" as they were escorted out.

District Judge Michael Ranaghan said the individuals had "no respect for the court" and ordered that the man who shouted appear before him on Monday to apologise.

Mr Lundy is due to reappear before the court in Omagh on 27 February.