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Car dealer found battered to death

A man standing trial for the murder of a local car dealer in Newry, Northern Ireland, told a jury he ‘respected’ the businessman he is accused of battering to death.

Giving evidence at Belfast Crown Court yesterday Keoghan Gerard McGuigan denied any involvement in the killing of 57-year-old Patrick Keenan, who was found dead in the bedroom of his Carrive Drive home on June 26, 2004.

McGuigan, who at the time of the murder lived in nearby Carrive Heights, admitted knowing and dealing with Keenan on a regular basis due to his position as a car dealer. Describing himself as a "car fanatic", the 35-year-old revealed he had bought and sold several vehicles through Keenan.

The Crown believes Mr Keenan was murdered over a Mercedes which he owned and was worth around £1,000.

Following the murder, the Mercedes was seized by police at McGuigan's home. He claimed he was given the car by a young colleague of Keenan in exchange for a Volkswagen Golf which he previously bought off Mr Keenan, but which was giving him problems.

When defence barrister Dermot Fee QC asked the accused: "Would you have murdered Pat Keenan or anyone else for a car worth £1000 plus?", McGuigan replied: "Definitely not."

He was also asked to explain why he had lied about taking possession of the Mercedes to the police when questioned about the murder. McGuigan claimed he was threatened by a man who called at his door not to tell police about Keenan's young colleague's involvement in the handing over of the Mercedes.

The trial continues.

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