Belfast Telegraph

Christine Connor trial: Hoax 999 calls made by defendant before explosions, expert claims

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.

By Ashleigh McDonald

An expert in speech analysis has said there is “very strong support” that audio recordings she examined bore the voice of a woman accused of trying to kill police officers.

Christine Connor is standing trial at Belfast Crown Court on charges arising from two pipe bomb incidents in the north of the city in May 2013.

The 34-year old, whose address cannot be published due to a reporting restriction, has been charged with — and denies — six offences including attempting to murder police, possessing explosives and causing an explosion likely to endanger life.

It is the Crown’s case that she was involved in two incidents where pipe bombs detonated — the first on the Ligoniel Road on May 16 and the second on the Crumlin Road in the early hours of May 28 2013.

The Crown also believe Connor made 999 calls prior to the devices being detonated.

As the trial entered its second week, a forensic speech consultant based in York was called to give evidence about a report she compiled.

The speech analyst said that in her line of work, she studies aspects such as rhythm, melody and pitch.

She confirmed that as part of this case, she was give several pieces of audio to examine, including 999 calls, two pieces of audio from short movie clips and a recording of a police interview with Connor.

When asked about the female voice on the two audio clips and one of the 999 call, the speech analyst said: “There is very strong support for the view that these three recordings is Christine Connor.”

Questioned by Tim Moloney QC, she confirmed that when she compiled her report in 2013, it was one of her first.

She also agreed with the defence’s proposition that speech analysis evidence was not as strong as DNA evidence.

Also called to give evidence yesterday was a north Belfast man who was woken from his sleep by the explosion in the early hours of May 16, 2013.

The resident said: “I heard two loud bangs. They were extremely loud. They sounded almost like gunshots.

“I thought they were coming from within my house.”

He said that when he looked out his window, he saw a “heavier than average” female in the Mill Valley Road area.

The trial continues.

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