Belfast Telegraph

Man charged with armed robbery at Larne shop lodged £2,000 in own bank same day, court told

By Nevin Farrell

A man accused of holding up a shop in Larne with a sawn-off shot gun allegedly deposited £2,000 into his own bank account on the same day.

Ryan Robert Connor (35), of Mill House, Priory Gardens, Larne, appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Saturday.

He is charged with robbery,  possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, converting criminal property, aggravated vehicle taking. and using a vehicle without insurance on June 19 last.

Another man, aged 22, who has already appeared in court in connection with the incident, has been remanded in custody.

Last month, police said the shop worker was uninjured but was left "very badly shaken".

Entering the dock on Saturday, Connor asked if he could be released from handcuffs saying he had once broken his two wrists racing a scrambler bike and was in pain. The defendant said: "I am not a violent person".

A police officer said he was satisfied the restraints were put on adequately. District Judge Liam McNally ordered that the cuffs stayed on, noting that, as it was a Saturday, there was not the normal level of security in the courtroom.

Another police officer said he could connect the accused to the charges and said in June a Nissan Micra was stolen in Larne and it reappeared with false number plates on June 19.

It was pictured, with two occupants, on CCTV at the rear of a Spar shop at Linn Road, Larne.

The officer said both suspects were wearing green balaclavas. They gained entry to the shop through a door which was left open for deliveries.

The raiders brandished a sawn-off shotgun a shop worker and made off with £5,000.

The car was later found near Larne Football Club and clothing, including balaclavas, was recovered nearby.

Connor lodged £2,000 into his own bank account on the day of the robbery, the court heard.

His DNA was found on one of the balaclavas and the DNA of the other accused was on the other balaclava. The shotgun was not recovered.

The officer said Connor was arrested and released on police bail at a time when evidence was still being gathered.

He said the co-accused was arrested on June 26 and, when police attempted to contact Connor again, the defendant  "went on the run".

Connor's picture was put on social media, said the officer and the defendant handed himself in on Friday.

The officer objected to bail, saying the accused had 41 previous convictions, there was a risk of reoffending and of the defendant not returning to court.

On the date of the armed robbery, the officer said Connor placed £2,000 into his own bank account.

Defence solicitor Daniel McCorry said his client had not got back in touch with police because he had "buried his head in the sand" and "panicked" when he was phoned by the PSNI.

He said the accused denies the offences and said his client has CCTV at his own home which showed him entering and not leaving on the relevant date.

Judge McNally refused bail saying, they were serious charges and said there was a likelihood of further offending since the firearm had not been recovered.

As he was remanded in custody to appear in court in August, Connor called police "scumbags," claiming they did not show his personal CCTV "because they know it is in my favour".

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