Toomebridge murder accused tells court ‘I can’t bring the words together to say how sorry I am’

The Elk Bar and nightclub complex.
The Elk Bar and nightclub complex.

A 24-year-old man has appeared in court accused of the murder of James McDonagh.

Finbar McCoy, of Loughbeg Road, Toomebridge, is charged with the murder of 28-year-old Mr McDonagh on January 11.

Mr McDonagh was assaulted outside the Elk Nightclub in the early hours of January 10.

He died in hospital the following afternoon.

During a brief hearing at Derry Magistrates Court, McCoy confirmed he understood the charge against him.

An investigating officer from Serious Crime Branch confirmed that the defendant admitted his role in the assault but denied murder.

The court heard McCoy told police ‘I can’t bring the words together to say how sorry I am. I feel sorry for the family but I did not murder James McDonagh’.

The officer confirmed that the cause of death was found to be a blow to the back of the head after Mr McDonagh was punched once and fell backwards.

He said that tensions are very high in the Toomebridge area as a result of the recent tragedy.

The officer added that police still have a number of enquiries to make in respect of the case and their ‘intention is to proceed with this matter as quickly as possible’.

There was no application for bail and McCoy was remanded in custody to appear in court again via videolink on February 11.