Belfast Telegraph

Brother and sister robbed Belfast taxi driver at knifepoint, court hears

The pair appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court on Tuesday
The pair appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court on Tuesday

By Alan Erwin

A brother and sister allegedly robbed a Belfast taxi driver of £90 in takings at knifepoint, a court has heard.

Colin Crawford, 31, and 32-year-old Lorilee Crawford are accused of brandishing blades after flagging down the cab in the early hours of Monday morning.

Prosecutors claimed they were then found hiding behind shutters at a fast-food restaurant near the scene on the Shankill Road area.

The pair, both of Dunanney Avenue in Newtownabbey, appeared together at Belfast Magistrates' Court charged with robbery and possessing offensive weapons with intent to commit an indictable offence.

Lorilee Crawford faces further counts of stealing a debit card and having cocaine and diazepam said to have been located in her underwear.

Police said the driver was robbed after picking up a man and woman on the Shore Road near Crusaders FC's Seaview stadium.

He had been asked to take them to the Shankill area but became wary at the circuitous route they wanted to travel, the court was told.

At that point the man in the front passenger seat allegedly produced a knife and demanded: "Give me the money, I want all of it."

The woman in the back seat also then pressed a suspected blade against the victim's neck, according to police.

He handed over a container with approximately £90 in it before exiting his taxi and phoning police.

District Judge Peter King was told officers responded and located a knife nearby.

The accused were detained at a KFC outlet, with searches allegedly leading to another knife being found in Lorilee Crawford's possession.

Both accused deny carrying out the robbery.

They claim to have taken a taxi from Rathcoole in Newtownabbey to the Shankill area to visit relatives.

During interviews Lorilee Crawford, a mother of three, told police they had encountered a group of teenagers and warned them about the dangers of drugs misuse.

She alleged that the teenagers then dropped substances, which she picked up and planned to hand over to a pharmacy.

Her barrister, Sean Mullan, argued that she is not forensically linked to the robbery.

Colin Crawford's lawyer, Pearse MacDermott, also insisted there is currently no fingerprint or DNA connection.

"This is very much a circumstantial case at present," he said.

Both defendants were refused bail, however, due to the potential risk of re-offending.

Remanding them in custody to appear again by video-link in  four weeks time, Judge King said: "The allegations are striking - they are against a taxi driver and there's allegations of the use of a knife."

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