Driver charged over memorial damage

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A lorry driver accused of wrecking a memorial to murdered soldiers was refused bail on Thursday amid fears he would interfere with the police investigation.

Robert James McKeegan, 44, of Beech Drive, Bleary, Craigavon, was accused at Banbridge Magistrates’ Court, sitting in Newry, of causing criminal damage to a memorial belonging to the Royal British Legion at Narrow Water on October 4.

He was also charged with having an indecent image of a child on November 14.

Poppy crosses, wreaths and floral tributes were destroyed at Narrow Water, believed to be the fourth attack in the past year.

The memorial marks the 1979 IRA double bomb attack which killed 18 soldiers, the largest single loss of life suffered by the security forces in the Troubles.

In court, a PSNI officer claimed McKeegan had stopped his lorry beside the memorial at around 7.30am and while talking in his phone, destroyed the memorial before driving off.

He was arrested on the M1 motorway on Wednesday and the officer added that when police checked his mobile phone, they uncovered the allegedly indecent image.

McKeegan was remanded into custody to appear again via video-link on December 12.