Accused released on bail to Belfast City Hospital
A former BBC security guard has been accused of murdering his wife in their south Belfast home last summer.
Gary Alexander Baird (61), whose address was given by the court as Lisburn Road in Belfast, did not appear before Newtownards Magistrates Court yesterday but was charged with the murder of Susan Baird (60).
He was released on bail to a
secure unit at Belfast City Hospital.
On August 16, the mother-of-four was murdered in her home at a cul-de-sac at Windermere Road in the Four Winds area of south Belfast.
She was an office administrator for Orangefield Presbyterian Church on Castlereagh Road.
A detective sergeant said she could connect Baird to the murder charge and described the “totally unpredictable” attack as “unprovoked, sustained and vicious”.
She said that the Windermere Road address would be unsuitable for bail as that is where the attack allegedly took place.
Detectives from the PSNI’s Major Investigation Team had arrested Baird — who previously did security work, including at the BBC — on suspicion of murder on Monday and took him to Musgrave custody suite for questioning.
Representing Baird, Ciaran Toner of Finucane Toner Solicitors explained that the defendant is currently detained in Belfast City Hospital under a Mental Health Order.
He added that Baird was released on Tuesday under Article 15 of the order to attend Musgrave custody suite for interview but later returned to hospital.
“Last night he was charged but because of the recommendations of the psychiatrist he was then brought back to Belfast City Hospital,” the defence solicitor said.
The detective outlined that police would ordinarily be opposing to bail and asking for Baird to be remanded in prison.
However, on advice of the consultant psychiatrist, Baird was described as currently not being fit for prison.
“Our request, if possible, is to remand him to that unit,” the detective added.
“We obviously have serious concerns about the risk not only to himself but the risk to the public given the fact that this was an unprovoked, sustained and vicious attack which was totally unpredictable.”
Mr Toner added that “we’re not sure” how long Baird will be in hospital so it was agreed that he could appear at a later date before the court in case of a future bail variation.
If Baird was no longer detained under the Mental Health Order, police could then make an application to the court to vary bail and remand him in prison, it was contended.
“My application today, and it was agreed by the custody sergeant and the officer last night, was that he would be admitted to bail subject to the court to that address agreed by police,” said Mr Toner.
“If there was a change to circumstances the police could then come and make representations to the court if they wanted to object.”
District Judge Mark Hamill said he had “never come across this before” but released Baird on bail for £400.
He must reside in the Belfast City Hospital facility or another address agreed by police.
Baird is due to appear before Newtownards Magistrates Court on February 24 for an update.