Bail refused to pair charged with Doagh bar attack on loyalist

The attack happened at McConnells Bar in Doagh

The attack happened at McConnells Bar in Doagh

Two men accused of trying to murder a former leading loyalist in a barroom attack must remain in custody, a judge has ruled.

David Rush, 34, and David Gibson, 44, were refused bail amid allegations they were part of a 10-strong gang who battered Darren Moore with weapons in Doagh, Co Antrim last week.

Police said he was specifically targeted in a vicious assault that inflicted multiple head fractures, facial lacerations and a puncture wound to his stomach.

Belfast Magistrates’ Court also heard that two days after the attack a house he previously lived in was ransacked and damaged in a suspected case of mistaken identity.

Rush, from Ballyvesey Green, and Gibson, of Milewater Drive – both in Newtownabbey – are jointly charged with attempted murder.

Rush also faces a further count of possessing a wooden baton with intent to commit an indictable offence.

CCTV footage allegedly links both men to the attack at McConnell’s Bar on March 15.

Moore, in his 40s and formerly from the Mount Vernon area of Belfast, has been under loyalist paramilitary threat, according to investigating detectives.

He was sitting having a drink when up to 10 men entered and launched the assault before escaping in a number of cars.

Baseball bats, hammers and pickaxe handles were among the weapons said to have been used.

Opposing bail, a detective sergeant claimed there’s a continued risk to Moore’s life.

“It was not a chance of random encounter, he was specifically targeted,” he said.

District Judge Ken Nixon was also told Moore was the intended target in the attack on a house in Broughshane, Co Antrim last Friday.

“We do believe there’s an ongoing effort against the injured party, who is in a vulnerable state that the moment,” the detective added.

It was confirmed that Moore has since been released from hospital to live at an undisclosed location.

He has named a third man to be charged with the attempted murder, 27-year-old Aaron Cahoon, of Fairhill Gardens in Newtownabbey.

During cross-examination defence lawyer Donal McConnell put it to the detective that Rush and Gibson were only identified by police officers who viewed the CCTV recordings.

Mr McConnell also stressed that the man said to be Gibson on the footage does not throw punches or wield any weapons.

The detective replied: “We would say all 10 went with a common purpose, everyone there was on a joint enterprise.”

Denying bail to both accused, Mr Nixon cited the risk of reoffending.

They were remanded in custody to appear again next month.