Belfast Telegraph

Christine Connor trial: Defendant's DNA found on mobile phone and Tesco bag near scene of pipe bomb attack

Christine Connor at Belfast Crown Court today where she is on trial accused of attempting to murder police officers. Credit: Alan Lewis.
Christine Connor at Belfast Crown Court today where she is on trial accused of attempting to murder police officers. Credit: Alan Lewis.

DNA from a north Belfast woman was present on a mobile phone and a Tesco bag found close to the scene of a pipe bomb attack on police, a court heard.

A forensic scientist was called to give evidence at the trial of Christine Connor, who has been charged with six offences arising from two pipe bomb blasts in the north of the city in May 2013.

The 34 year-old denies offences including attempting to murder police and causing an explosion with intent to endanger life.

On the fifth day of the non-jury trial, a forensic scientist was called to the witness box at Belfast Crown Court and asked about items he examined in the aftermath of the second incident, which occurred on the Crumlin Road in the early hours of May 28, 2013.

It’s the Crown’s case that Connor, whose address is the subject of a reporting restriction, lured police to the area by making a bogus 999 call of domestic abuse, and when two officers responded to the hoax, she either threw the devices or was part of a joint enterprise that did so.

The trial has already heard that a Tesco plastic bag was found at the scene, while a Nokia mobile was located in a nearby garden.

When asked about the presence of DNA on the bag, the forensic scientist said swabs taken from the bag indicated a mixed DNA profile of more than one person.

He said that while “most of the results in the DNA profile matched that of Christine Connor”, also present was her mother’s DNA. Asked to expand, the forensic scientist said “Christine Connor was the major contributor” with her mother as the “minor contributor”.

The expert was then asked about swabs he took from various areas of the mobile phone. He confirmed he examined six swabs, and again concluded there was a mixed DNA profile.

He said the DNA of both Christine Connor and her mother was present, as was “a small amount of DNA from another person”, with the major profile attributed to Christine Connor.

The forensic scientist was then questioned by defence barrister Conor O’Kane, who raised the issue of the presence of DNA from at least one other person.

He replied by saying whilst there was the presence of DNA from other people, the level was so low it would not amount to “a meaningful comparison”. Mr O’Kane again spoke of DNA from more than one person and asked the forensic scientist if this could mean two, five, 10 or even 15 people.

The forensic scientist responded by saying every case was different, but in this case it was two major profiles with the presence of a third but “no more than four”.

Mr O’Kane then asked: “The DNA from at least one other person is present on the Nokia. That could be five or 10 people could it not?”

The forensic scientist replied: “That’s very unlikely. It’s most likely one, but it could in theory be two.” Presiding judge Stephen Fowler QC has already been told that after her arrest in May 2013, Connor gave a ‘no comment’ response but then gave a pre-prepared statement to police during the seventh interview.

In the statement, she claimed that on the evening of the bomb blast on the Crumlin Road, she was a member of WeightWatchers and as part of that programme she was out for a walk as part of her daily exercise.

She also claimed that as she walked close to the Wineflair off licence on the Crumlin Road, she heard two loud explosions which caused her to drop her mobile phone.

The trial is due to resume again next Monday.

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