John Caldwell: Seven men charged with attempted murder of PSNI detective

Seven men have been charged with the attempted murder of DCI John Caldwell.

Two men aged 28 and five others aged 33, 38, 45, 47 and 72 are due to appear before Dungannon Magistrates Court via video link on Monday, May 29.

Two of the suspects, aged 38 and 45, have also been charged with membership of a proscribed organisation, namely the IRA.

Meanwhile three men have also been charged with the preparation of terrorist acts – they are aged 28, 33 and 47.

It comes just hours after four other people who were among 11 arrested on Friday were released pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service.

The two men, aged 34 and 21, and two women, aged 52 and 34, were detained under the Terrorism Act.

Police recently released new CCTV footage and images of a number of cars they believe were used in the attack which was carried out by the New IRA in Omagh on February 22.

Detective Superintendent Eamonn Corrigan said the arrests mark a “significant” step in the probe which has resulted in a total of 28 arrests involving 21 individuals.

He said investigators continue to trawl through 400,000 hours of CCTV footage, hundreds of pieces of evidence and information provided by over 300 witnesses but were at a stage where they wanted to present evidence to the latest suspects to be detained.

“My investigation has progressed and I now believe a black Mercedes Benz C-Class (W204) four-door saloon (2007/8 – 2014) was used as an operational vehicle by the New IRA both before and immediately after the attack when it was used to transport the gunmen and others away from the site of the burned out Ford Fiesta in Raculpa Road, referred to as Fiesta One,” Mr Corrigan added.

“I am appealing for information about who was in this black Mercedes vehicle, where it was before the shooting and where it went afterwards. I know it travelled in a convoy on the Drumnakilly Road headed towards Omagh at 5.43pm on the 22nd with the two blue Ford Fiestas before the attack took place.

“I am also releasing new images today of the two Ford Fiestas.

“The new photograph of Fiesta One shows it leaving Barrack Street in Coalisland at 4.55pm on the afternoon of the shooting and travelling to Omagh. It had registration number MGZ 6242, and was fitted with false plates, FRZ 8414, prior to the attack.

“We know this vehicle left the sports complex and turned left onto the Killyclogher Road immediately after the shooting. It then travelled past Glendale Service Station to the Racolpa Road where it was abandoned and set on fire. We believe it travelled into Coalisland around 10pm on the previous night, the 21st.”

Police also released a new image of Fiesta Two, registration number RLZ 9805, with a missing alloy hubcap seen at 2pm at Tamnamore Park and Ride on the day of the attempted murder.

“I need to know where it travelled to from here before being burned out in Ardboe Industrial Estate the following day, Thursday February 23,” Mr Corrigan said.

“I am appealing to anyone who has information about the movements of these vehicles, or the people within them, to contact police or Crimestoppers anonymously. No piece of information is too small.

“The Crimestoppers charity is offering one of the largest rewards of £150,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved in the attempted murder.”

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