Senior Republican figure charged with kidnap

Friday 24 August 2001 21.36

A senior Republican figure has appeared in court in Belfast charged with kidnapping. He is further charged with threatening to kill a man during a confrontation in the Ardoyne area yesterday afternoon.

Eddie Copeland from Holmdene Gardens in Ardoyne in North Belfast, who was the subject of several assassination attempts by Loyalists during the 1990s, was arrested close to his home.

He was also charged with causing actual bodily harm and unlawful imprisonment. Mr Copeland has been the subject of several assassination attempts by Loyalists, most noticeably in December 1996, when he suffered severe leg and arm injuries after a booby trap bomb was placed under his car as he visited his mother.

Mr Copeland later received £60,000 in compensation for the injuries he received. The 31-year-old was also awarded £27,500 for injuries he received after a British soldier shot him outside the home of the Shankill bomber, Thomas Begley, in 1993.

Mr Copeland had been standing with a group of mourners when the soldier who was part of a patrol unit in the area opened fire. Mr Copeland was arrested yesterday afternoon.

The arrest followed an alleged fracas outside a bookmaker's shop close to his Ardoyne home, in which a man is alleged to have sustained cuts, bruises and bite-marks.