Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

Illness brings city terror trial to halt

THE RE-TRIAL of a former French Legionnaire paratrooper accused of

ended early yesterday when a mystery witness said she could not go on.

ended early yesterday when a mystery witness said she could not go on.

A woman, hidden behind curtains and identified only as Witness No 2, took ill shortly after defence lawyers for 25- year-old Stephen Larkin began to cross-examine her evidence.

After a short adjournment, trial judge Mr Justice Kerr was told the woman still felt unwell but hoped to recover in time to be questioned today.

She had earlier told the prosecution that the gunman who shot Adair and another man, Donald Hodgen, as they sat in Adair's car outside his Berlin Street home on March 6, 1993, was Larkin.

Larkin, from Jamaica Road in the Ardoyne area of Belfast, who won an appeal, is being tried at Belfast Crown Court for the second time for the double murder-bid.

The mystery witness claims she had an unobstructed view of the gunman and that a fortnight later she also picked Larkin out of a police line-up at Donegall Pass RUC station.

She said she had been sitting in her car when the "foreign like" gunman with short thick dark hair opened fire with a "long gun".

Later as Larkin's lawyer began to question her, the woman claimed that she could "guarantee that the man I saw with the gun was the accused".

She added: "I came here determined to stick to the truth".

But when asked about her original police statement following the shooting, the woman claimed she could not remember it as she had been "doped up to the hilt with nerve tablets".

She also claimed she could not remember anything from Larkin's first trial _ "I don't remember the last trial _ I was just asked a lot of questions".

The woman said that since the shooting three years ago she has suffered nightmares and has been receiving therapy and medication for her nervous condition.

Minutes later, while studying her orginal police statement at the request of the defence, she asked for a break.

It was after this short adjournment that the court heard the woman felt unfit to continue with her evidence.

At hearing.

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