Up to 30 people may have witnessed a Scotsman being beaten up before he was abandoned in front of oncoming traffic outside a soccer club in the North, murder squad detectives revealed today.
Five men are being questioned about the death of Ronald Mackie, 36, in Co Derry. Police are investigating any loyalist paramilitary involvement in the killing.
Mr Mackie, from Kippen, Stirlingshire, was attacked by a mob after a row flared during a disco at Tobermore United Football Club early on Saturday morning.
He had travelled to the North to attend an earlier Orange Order parade two miles away in Maghera.
Police believe the gang involved then deliberately shoved him in front of a red car which ran him over.
The driver is believed to have stopped before taking off again, but Detective Superintendent Raymond Murray urged him to come forward.
He said: “I know that the driver is out there and he may well be very frightened and very apprehensive.
“But it’s essential that he gets in touch with police and tells us what he saw at the scene.”
Police arrested the five men – all from the Tobermore and Castledawson areas - following a series of searches.
Officers also focused on suspicious activity at the King William III and Gortmore housing estates in Maghera.
Mr Murray also revealed: “We know that there were a lot of people at the function and there may have been up to 30 people standing in the road.
“It’s vitally important that these people come forward.
“They may have seen the assault, they may have seen who took part in the assault, or they may have seen the car.”
Although no sectarian motive is suspected, the detective also confirmed that loyalist involvement has not been ruled out.
“That’s something we are keeping in the forefront of our minds,” he added.