Belfast Telegraph

Christine Connor trial: Hoax 999 call made to lure PSNI into pipe bomb attack, court is told

Christine Connor at Laganside Courts in Belfast yesterday
Christine Connor at Laganside Courts in Belfast yesterday

By Ashleigh McDonald

A hoax 999 call made by a woman claiming she had been attacked by her boyfriend was yesterday played at the trial of a north Belfast woman.

Christine Connor is standing trial at Belfast Crown Court on offences arising from two incidents in May 2013 which involved explosive devices.

The 34-year-old, whose address is the subject of a reporting restriction, has been charged with six offences - including possessing explosives, causing an explosion with intent to endanger life and attempting to murder police - which she denies.

During the second day of the trial two 999 calls, a movie file and CCTV footage were played at the non-jury hearing.

The first 999 call was made at 2.11am on May 16, 2013 by a woman calling herself Michelle McCann.

The female caller said she lived on the Ligoniel Road and that when she was getting out of a taxi she noticed a device sitting in her neighbour's garden.

The caller, who said she saw a "metal tube with wires sticking out of it", added "I don't know if it is like a bomb" and when she asked the 999 operator "should I touch it or what?" the operator said: "Do not go near it, do not touch it. We will get somebody up."

CCTV footage from a police camera was also played, which showed an explosion on the Ligoniel Road just after 2am on May 16, 2013.

While no one was injured, the detonation narrowly missed a car containing a couple driving home from the airport.

The second 999 call played at the trial was made at 2.12am on May 28, 2013, and in this recording a female calling herself Gemma and who sounded extremely upset told the operator "my boyfriend has come home and is smashing up the house and I don't know what to do".

The distressed female also said "he punched me in the face. I don't know why, I didn't do anything".

The caller said she was in the garden of her Crumlin Road home and before the call was ended, the operator told her "we will get somebody to you right away. You stay where you are".

It is the Crown's case there is evidence linking Connor to the 999 call made on May 16, and that she made the hoax call on May 28.

It is also the Crown's case that Connor was involved in a pipe bomb attack on police who responded to the early morning bogus 999 call. The two police officers who attended the scene have already given evidence, and while one of the devices landed at the feet of one officer, his colleague was forced to take cover behind a garden wall.

Following the attack on police on May 28, Connor's north Belfast home was searched and she was arrested. During the search a number of items were seized, including a mattress taken from her bedroom.

Several electronic devices were found within the mattress, including an HP laptop, and when that was examined a movie file was located.

This file - which the Crown say was Connor recording a "trial run" ahead of the first explosion on May 16 - was also played yesterday. The movie depicts a female walking in Ligoniel and talking about police helicopters and drones, a seven to eight minute route, and at one point the female talks about the best places to hide, including behind bushes, before "throwing it... literally f*****g it at them".

She also describes herself as "not being the most agile" and says "when I hear the sirens I just walk out".

The hearing is set to resume in front of Judge Stephen Fowler QC today.

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