Belfast Telegraph

Ballymena murder suspect released on bail for hospital treatment

A woman who is a suspect in a murder probe following the death of a 40-year-old man in Ballymena appeared in court on Saturday to face a charge of fraud by false representation and was released on bail to go to a hospital.

Angela May Jean Irwin (53), of no fixed address, was described by a police officer at Ballymena Magistrates Court as a "suspect in a potential murder investigation".

She had been arrested following the death of a man named locally as Robin McMaster, whose body was discovered at a flat at Devenagh Way in Ballymena on Thursday afternoon.

On Thursday police said a 53-year-old woman was arrested and although they were treating the death as murder a post mortem still had to take place.

On Friday police announced the suspect had been released on bail pending further enquiries ahead of the post mortem on Saturday but that the woman was subsequently re-arrested and charged with fraud by false representation and due to appear at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Saturday.

Irwin was wearing a grey tracksuit when she entered the dock at Ballymena Court on Saturday morning.

She was charged with fraud by false representation regarding Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

The charge was that she 'dishonestly made a false representation, namely ordering prescription medication with the intention by making the representation to make a gain for yourself or another or to cause a loss to the Northern Health & Social Services Trust'.

A PSNI detective constable said he believed he could connect the accused to the fraud charge.

The officer said he was objecting to bail because there was no suitable address for the defendant and he said the defendant was at a risk of self-harming as during interview the accused said she wanted to harm herself with prescription drugs.

The detective added: "She is still a suspect in a potential murder investigation".

He said a number of potential witnesses still have to be spoken to.

Defence solicitor Nigel McIlrath said the charge before the court did relate to a "more serious matter" but District Judge Liam McNally said he could only deal with the charge before him.

Mr McIlrath said it was hopeful a bed could be secured for the defendant at Holywell Hospital in Antrim.

Judge McNally said to address the concerns expressed about the defendant by the police officer he would eventually like to see a medical report regarding the defendant.

He released Irwin on £750 bail with a condition to reside at Holywell Hospital and she is to have no contact with potential witnesses or family members of Mr McMaster.

The judge added: "I'm granting bail because she is going to hospital care" and adjourned the case back to the same court next Thursday.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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