Belfast Telegraph

Woman accused of trying to murder man found in Ballymena bin 'threatened by paramilitaries'

A woman accused of trying to murder a man found naked and beaten in a taped-up wheelie bin has been threatened by loyalist paramilitaries, the High Court heard today.

Paula Wilson handed herself back into custody after receiving messages about a planned show of strength and potential petrol bombing at her previous bail address.

But a judge has now ruled that she can be released again to live at a new, undisclosed location.

Mr Justice Horner said: "It would be a pretty unhappy state of affairs if those criminal elements could dictate who can and can't get bail."
Wilson, 20, of Millfield, Ballymena, Co Antrim, is charged with the attempted murder and false imprisonment of Adam Robinson in the town last month.

Two 26-year-old men, her boyfriend Teri Lau of Dunclug Park, and David Patterson of Glendun Drive, both in Ballymena, face the same charges.

Mr Robinson was discovered by dog walkers in a wooded area at Sentry Hill on September 3.

He had been seriously assaulted and needed hospital treatment for his injuries.

It is alleged that he was sealed in the bin after being attacked at a drink and drugs-fuelled party in the town.

Wilson had previously been granted bail to stay at an address in Cullybackey, three miles outside Ballymena.

But the court was told today that she turned herself in to police 24 hours later due to two separate threats.

One received by police stated unknown elements in Ballymena were intent on making a show of strength at her bail address.

Prosecuting counsel Kate McKay said reference was also made to a petrol bomb.

The second warned that Wilson would be put out of Cullybackey.

"Of her own volition she asked bail to be revoked because she felt under threat," Mrs McKay confirmed.

Wilson is allegedly linked to the incident by witness descriptions of a female near where Mr Robinson was found in the taped-up bin, the court heard.

One of them described this woman as having a distinctive vine tattoo on her leg - similar to a type of marking said to be on Wilson.

Mrs McKay told the court: "She, police believe, had full knowledge he was left in this position and took no action to raise the alarm.

"It really was only by pure chance that the dog walker came across Mr Robinson in the bin."

Setting out a possible background to the incident, the barrister confirmed there was no known history between the victim and any accused.

"It just appears to have been a party, drink and drugs, and perhaps Mr Robinson being friendly towards Ms Wilson who is the girlfriend of Teri Lau, which led to this shocking incident," she told the court.

Opposing Wilson's to be released again to stay at another location, Mrs McKay claimed it was less than two miles from where the victim lives and would probably result in a chance encounter between them.

Although Mr Robinson has recovered well from his physical injuries, she said he has been left psychologically traumatised and having problems sleeping.

"He's suffering from anxiety, depression, become withdrawn and considered to be in a vulnerable state," the barrister added. 

But according to defence counsel Andrew Moriarty a series of Facebook postings by Mr Robinson showed he was applying a sense of humour to the situation.

In one he stated: "109 likes??? I'm getting a kicking more often lol."

Mr Moriarty disputed the prosecution assessment of his client's alleged role, arguing that the victim himself stated he doesn't believe she was involved in attacking him.

He also challenged the strength and accuracy of the witness evidence, contending that the tattoo sighting would not be allowed to feature at any trial because it was reported after the case was subjected to "a blaze of publicity".

Urging the judge to bail, he specified that the proposed new address is in a nationalist district.

"I make reference to the nature of the area because the threat that was made to Ms Wilson seemed to emanate from loyalist sources," Mr Moriarty said.

"For someone to be granted bail and then for them to feel compelled to revoke it themselves on foot of threats that have been made to them, that is repugnant to any person's notions of justice and fair play."

In his ruling Mr Justice Horner pointed out that the district judge who previously granted bail had decided the potential risk of interference with the case could be managed.

"The reason bail was revoked lay not with that but due to threats by loyalist paramilitaries," he said.

He described the alleged attack and imprisonment of Mr Robinson as "a most heinous incident".

"I consider there's a prima facie case that the applicant has been involved not in the assault but in the subsequent events which related to the disposal of the injured party in a wheelie bin which was heavily taped-up in a park and could have had disastrous consequences for him," the judge said.

"The circumstances of what took place are totally and utterly unacceptable in any civilised society."

Wilson was released on bail on conditions that include a ban on entering Ballymena town, a curfew, electronic monitoring and a prohibition on contacting the victim or co-accused.
 

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