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02 Dec 2021

Longford family was ‘fleeing’ Derry city when they were ‘ambushed’

Two caravans owned by the 'Longford Stokes' destroyed in arson attack

Were ‘fleeing’ Derry city when they were ‘ambushed’

Police confirmed that two caravans owned by the 'Longford Stokes' which had been left behind at Ballyarnett Traveller camp were destroyed in an arson attack

Four men and a teenage boy were charged last Thursday, August 19, in connection with a violent clash in Derry which has been linked to a 'feud' between two Traveller families.

The five appeared at Derry Magistrates Court in connection with the incident which occurred at Buncrana Road on Tuesday afternoon.

A sixth man arrested on Tuesday is in hospital recovering from injuries sustained during the incident.

Video footage of the incident shared on social media showed a car crashing into other vehicles outside a filling station.
A number of men are also seen in the footage carrying weapons, including a crossbow and a pitch fork.

The court was told last Thursday that the violence was linked to a dispute between members of the 'Derry Stokes' family and the 'Longford Stokes' family.

It was alleged in court by one of the defence barristers that the 'Longford Stokes' had been living in Derry for the past 20 months but had recently received threats from the 'Derry Stokes'.

As a result of the threats, the barrister claimed, the 'Longford Stokes' had decided to leave Derry and were 'fleeing' from the city on Tuesday when they were 'ambushed' by members of the other family at the Buncrana Road filling station.

The barrister alleged that the 'Longford Stokes' had made police aware of the threats made to them and had asked the PSNI for an escort out of the city.

However, the barrister claimed police had declined to provide such an escort.

He said the 'ambush' happened as four vehicles in the 'Longford Stokes' 'convoy' stopped at the filling station to get fuel.

The court was told that a member of the public who was driving a car which was struck by one of the vehicles linked to the accused suffered a fractured sternum.

Three members of the 'Longford Stokes' family – 28-year-old Kevin Stokes, 23-year-old Dylan Stokes and a 14-year-old boy – were charged.

All three have current addresses in Derry.

Kevin Stokes was charged with a number of offences including affray; possession of a crossbow in a public place; and grievous bodily harm with intent.

Dylan Stokes is charged with a number of driving offences including dangerous driving.

The 14-year-old boy, who cannot be named because of his age, is charged with a number of offences including possession of a pitch fork in a public place and possession of an article with a blade or point in a public place.

Two men linked to the other family allegedly involved in the feud also appeared before the court.

Charles McDonagh, 19, from Silverwood in Ballybofey, County Donegal, is accused of dangerous driving and possession of a number of offensive weapons.

Martin Mongan, 25, of Ballyarnett camp in Derry, is charged with possession of an article with a blade or point in a public place.

A police officer objected to bail applications for all five of the accused.

The officer said the 'tensions' between the two families 'remains unresolved' and there were concerns that there could be further violence.

In response to questioning from one of the defence barristers, the police confirmed that two caravans owned by the 'Longford Stokes' which had been left behind at Ballyarnett Traveller camp in their 'haste' to leave Derry had been destroyed in an arson attack on Wednesday.

However, despite the police objections, all five were released on bail to appear again before the local court on September 16.

BREAKING: Three Longford men arrested and charged over violent Derry incident

Three Longford men have been arrested and are due to appear in court in Northern Ireland in connection to a violent disorder incident in Derry on Tuesday, the Leader can reveal. 

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