Moffatt murder accused ‘has spent 487 days in custody

James Alexander McCook is led away in handcuffs from Ballymena Magistrates Court, after he accused of stabbing Norman Moffatt, 73, as the pensioner walked home after buying his morning newspaper in Coleraine, Co Londonderry, in January 2001. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday April 12, 2012. See PA story ULSTER Moffatt. Photo credit should read: Paul Faith/PA Wire
James Alexander McCook is led away in handcuffs from Ballymena Magistrates Court, after he accused of stabbing Norman Moffatt, 73, as the pensioner walked home after buying his morning newspaper in Coleraine, Co Londonderry, in January 2001. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday April 12, 2012. See PA story ULSTER Moffatt. Photo credit should read: Paul Faith/PA Wire
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THE MAN accused of the murder of Coleraine pensioner Norman Moffatt has spent a total of 487 days in custody, a court heard on Monday.

The details emerged as James Alexander McCook (42), pictured, appeared at North Antrim Magistrates’ court via video link from Maghaberry Prison.

Mr Moffatt (73) was stabbed in January 2001 as he walked home from buying his morning paper at Circular Road in Coleraine.

The pensioner was stabbed in the stomach and died in hospital two months later.

McCook was charged with Mr Moffatt’s murder after he was arrested earlier this year in Lancashire.

He had previously been charged with the murder before charges were withdrawn.

On Monday morning, a preliminary enquiry date was set for the case, and a spokesperson for the Public Prosecution Service gave the court an update.

Court heard that the FBI had finished enhancing CCTV footage and that the evidence was currently with the directing officer.

The PPS spokesman added that there was “nothing outstanding” in terms of evidence.

Mr O’Neill, a solicitor for the accused, pressed the court to set a PE date saying: “ My client has spent 487 days in custody.

“This is the thirteenth remand on this case.

“If they have the statements and the CCTV then let’s list this for a PE.”

He went on: “The prosecution have had more that enough time.

“This man has a right to have this listed. This CCTV footage have bought them time. This case all hinges on a witness statement that they’ve had for ten years.”

District Judge, Richard Wilson, said he was aware that the case was “long running.”

He set a PE date for November 19. It will be reviewed in three weeks time, on October 22.