Two men in court over murder of N. Ireland prison officer

20th December 2012, Comments 0 comments

Two men appeared in courts in Northern Ireland and in Ireland on Thursday facing charges over the murder of prison officer David Black last month, police said.

Black, 52, became the first prison officer in Northern Ireland to be killed for 20 years when shots were fired from a car that pulled up alongside his as he drove to work on November 1, causing the father-of-two's vehicle to veer into a ditch.

Damien Joseph McLaughlin, 36, who was charged with terror offences on Wednesday night, appeared in court in Northern Ireland accused of bringing over from Ireland the car used in the murder. He was remanded in custody.

Across the border in the Irish Republic, police confirmed a 44-year-old man arrested two days ago in connection with Black's murder also appeared in court.

Media reports named the man as Vincent Banks and said he had been charged with membership of the Irish Republican Army (the IRA).

He is reportedly suspected of being a member of the Real IRA, a splinter group of the IRA which waged a bloody battle for Northern Ireland to join Ireland until it declared its armed campaign over in 2005.

Police said it had the hallmarks of an attack by dissident republicans opposed to the Northern Ireland peace process.

© 2012 AFP

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