FBI examine Moffatt ‘murder footage’

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FBI experts are examining CCTV recordings of a pensioner being stabbed to death in Co Londonderry 11 years ago, it was revealed on Wednesday.

The High Court was told footage of the alleged attack on Norman Moffatt has been sent to the United States agency in a bid to enhance the images.

Details emerged as bail was refused to James McCook, who is charged with murdering the 73-year-old in Coleraine in January 2001.

Mr Moffatt was attacked on the town’s Railway Road as he walked home from buying his morning newspaper.

He was stabbed once in the stomach and died two months later.

McCook, 42, was arrested in Cheshire earlier this year by PSNI detectives working with officers from Greater Manchester Police.

The accused, originally from Northern Ireland but with an address at Stonemill Terrace, Lancashire Hill, Stockport, was taken back to Antrim for questioning.

Opposing his second application for bail, a prosecution barrister said English-based witnesses have made statements that he allegedly confessed to the killing.

One unidentified person claimed McCook, while drunk and angry, took a knife, made stabbing motions in the air and admitted to having killed someone in Ireland.

A second witness also alleged that the accused stated no-one will like him because he had stabbed someone.

Nicola Auret, prosecuting, added that the investigation was still not completed.

She disclosed: “The CCTV footage has been submitted to the FBI to see if they can use procedures to enhance the quality of it.

“They have indicated they are working on it, but can’t provide a timescale on it at the minute.”

Defence QC Terence McDonald expressed serious concerns about the investigation and the potential delays involved.

He argued that FBI examination of the CCTV footage may not advance the case against McCook.

Mr McDonald also stressed that witnesses who claimed his client made confessions had convictions themselves for dishonesty.

The barrister predicted that it could be at least 18 months before any trial can be heard.

However, Mr Justice Maguire ruled that bail should be refused due to the risk of possible reoffending or interference with witnesses.