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Dissident bomb suspect's Love/Hate bail date

Judge allows woman accused of attempting to murder cop to go see TV star at Féile .

By Patricia Devlin

Published 04/08/2015

John Connors alongside Neil Conroy in the popular crime series Love/Hate.
John Connors alongside Neil Conroy in the popular crime series Love/Hate.
Bomb suspect Christine Connor.

A woman facing pipe bomb charges has had her strict bail conditions relaxed to allow her to watch a Love/Hate actor - who plays a pipe bomber.

Dissident republican suspect Christine Connor, who is accused of attempting to murder a police officer, asked a judge last week to allow her to attend a number of events linked to the Féile an Phobail.

The court heard Connor wanted her curfew extended beyond 8pm so she could see a Love/Hate actor perform at the festival.

Antrim Court Crown wasn’t told the name of the actor, but Love/Hate star John Connors — who played pipe bomb maker Patrick Ward in the crime series — is scheduled to be interviewed by Radio Ulster’s Lynette Fay at the festival in West Belfast this Thursday.

And Love/Hate fan Christine Connor will be in the audience after Judge Donna McColgan agreed to extend her strict 8pm curfew to midnight for four consecutive nights this week.

Connor, 30, is charged with attempted murder after pipe bombs were thrown at a police car in May 2013, leaving at least one officer shaken but unhurt.

Her co-accused, Stuart Downes, of Ryton Close, Shrewsbury, is charged with aiding and abetting.

She is also accused of possessing improvised explosives with intent to endanger life, causing an explosion likely to endanger life, and preparation of a terrorist act.

Connor has been on bail since June after agreeing to wear an electronic tag, sign in with police daily and adhere to a 7am to 8pm curfew.

Her defence told Antrim Crown Court on Thursday that Connor — whose address cannot be printed due to court reporting restrictions — wanted her curfew extended to attend a number of events at the west Belfast festival.

As well as attending the question and answer session with the actor, the alleged pipe bomber also wanted to go to dinner with a friend. A prosecution lawyer said the Crown objected to the variation because it was a case of Connor “looking to go for a pint”.

He said: “It’s four nights of general social occasions.”

A lawyer for Connor, who was not present in court, said his client wanted to attend an event at St Mary’s University College featuring the Love/Hate chat on August 6, while on August 7 she wanted to attend a suicide awareness function.

On August 8 she needed time to attend some of the festival’s events, as a friend was over from Scotland, while on the ninth, Connors wanted to attend an evening dinner.

Connor’s lawyer said his client had already enjoyed extended bail conditions last month, when she travelled down to Dublin with a pal.

He said the night out “passed off without incident”.

Rebutting the Crown’s concerns, he said: “She’s not going to be out all night.”

He also said that Connors’s co-accused currently resides in England under less strict conditions.

However a Crown lawyer said that there was “multiple” types of forensic evidence linking Connor to the scene of the attacks. 

He said the Love/Hate fan and her co-accused Downes were not due to go on trial over the charges until September.

Judge McColgan agreed to vary the conditions from August 6 to August 9.

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