'Risk' | 

Newry gun victim’s daughter to get ‘compassionate’ bail for dad’s funeral despite threats

Whitney Hughes is in custody facing 14 counts in total including 12 drug charges

Whitney Hughes

Paul HigginsSunday World

The daughter of a drug feud murder victim is to be freed to attend her father’s wake and funeral, a judge ordered today.

Newry Magistrates Court heard that despite knowing there are threats against her and her family, and also that the address put forward for compassionate bail “is known by other parties,” Whitney Hughes still wanted to be temporarily freed from custody to allow her to attend the wake and funeral of Mark Lovell this weekend.

Her 58-year-old father was shot a number of times at close range inside his car near his home in Ardcarn Park in Newry on Thursday, December 1.

The men aged 45 and 40 were arrested on suspicion of murder earlier today following searches of a number of properties in Newry.

Independent charity Crimestoppers are offering a reward of up to £20,000 for information that may lead to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

Police have previously said Mr Lovell may have been murdered as part of cross-border criminal gang drugs feud and in court today, Det. Const. McAteer told District Judge Eamon King that “as a result of an ongoing drug feud there’s a risk” to Hughes and her family.

Hughes, from Ardcarn Park in Newry, is in custody facing 14 counts in total including 12 drug charges relating to possessing, supplying and intending to supply heroin, cocaine, cannabis and amphetamine and two further charges relating to possessing criminal cash and trading in counterfeit football clothing, all alleged to have been committed on 4 July this year.

Previous courts have heard claims that police believe she “plays a small part in a larger organised crime gang” in charges which arise as a result of officers from the organised crime unit raiding a locked storage container on the Mountain Road in the city where they uncovered the “full spectrum” of drugs including seven kilos of cannabis, 200 grams of cocaine and 113 grams of heroin as well as bundles of cash amounting to €12,000 and suspected counterfeit football clothing.

Mark Lovell

In addition, cops also found “scales and other drug paraphernalia” along with a gold plated iPhone stamped “gold for you first edition” and a “gold for you business card” which matches Hughes’ business name.

DC McAteer has previously told the court that a “member of a rival faction” had warned the defendants mother that Hughes should stay out of Newry, describing how “two males went to her mothers house and told her not to come back to Newry again.

“Her father’s house was attacked in a shooting in Dundalk in October, killing his dog and striking him.

“We believe that there’s an ongoing feud in Newry and south Armagh for the supply of drugs and releasing her into that, to an address that’s been identified by a rival faction is a risk that we cannot manage,” the officer submitted.

He repeated those fears today outlining how police are concerned that if Hughes is freed, even temporarily, it would give rise to the risk of further offences and give her the opportunity to interfere with the investigation and with “as yet unidentified persons” involved in the OCG.

He submitted that with the perceived risks “I’m not sure how we can manage that” and confirmed that Hughes and her defence had been made aware of them.

Defence solicitor Chris Logue said Hughes and her family are “well aware and they wish to pursue the application.”

Granting compassionate bail to Hughes for the weekend, DJ King ordered that Hughes’ mother signs a surety in the sum of £10,000 and that a separate £500 cash surety is lodged with the court.

The case was also adjourned to December 21.

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