Omagh bomb accused ‘has alibi’ court is told

The aftermath of the Omagh bombing
The aftermath of the Omagh bombing

A man accused of murdering 29 people in the Omagh bombing has an alibi, his lawyer has told a court.

Seamus Daly is charged with the 1998 Real IRA car bomb attack.

His defence barrister Peter Corrigan called for full disclosure of mobile phone records by police ahead of the "biggest murder trial in British criminal history", which is expected to centre on calls made at the time.

He said: "My client has put forward an alibi in 1999 and he is saying he was not in Omagh with any mobile phones and he is anxious that all voice analysis would be compared in relation to each phone.

"We are asking for all audio in relation to mobile phones."

Victims of the Omagh bomb, including Michael Gallagher and Stanley McComb, were in Omagh Magistrates' Court for the latest remand hearing.

Daly appeared via video link from prison as the court was updated on legal issues.

The accused faces 29 counts of murder after the device exploded in the centre of the town on a busy Saturday and killed shoppers from Ireland, Britain and Spain. A woman pregnant with twins and nine children were among the dead.

The 44-year-old bricklayer from Kilnasaggart Road, Jonesborough, County Armagh, also faces counts of causing the August 1998 explosion in Omagh and possession of a bomb in the market town with intent to endanger life or property.

He is further charged with conspiring to cause an explosion and having explosives with intent in connection with a separate dissident republican bomb plot in Lisburn, County Antrim, in April that year.

The primary witness that the Crown has put forward is Denis O'Connor, Mr Corrigan has said in a previous hearing.

Today he added: "He was arrested in 1999 as a suspect for the Omagh bombing. He was cautioned, there was a reasonable suspicion that he was involved by virtue of his arrest."

He claimed Mr O'Connor gave an account to Irish police in 1999 and had given three or four other accounts.

"We would ask that all original Garda notes in relation to Denis O'Connor form part of the disclosure that is submitted by the Garda.

"It is not fair that some statements in relation to Denis O'Connor are forwarded to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS). We want all material pertaining to Denis O'Connor to be served on the PPS so that a proper, fair and balanced consideration of this evidence can be made."