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Friend of shot raider denies role in hold-up

A lifelong friend of a man shot by a member of staff as he tried to rob a post office has been accused of being involved in the botched raid.

The inquest into the death of Patrick Joseph James Ward reconvened yesterday. The body of the 26-year-old, of Whiterock Gardens in Belfast, was found dead at a flat at Kansas Avenue on October 18, 1999 after the robbery bid.

At a hearing last year the court heard Ward was shot as he and others tried to hold up the post office on Ballysillan Road.

Francis Finnegan was called as a witness yesterday.

His statement, taken at the time of the incident, was read to court.

Finnegan, who said he’d known Ward for years, said he had called round to the flat. Peering through the letterbox, he said in his statement he saw a body lying face-up in the hallway of the flats, which he later realised was Mr Ward.

A lawyer for the Ward family yesterday put it to Mr Finnegan that he was involved in the attempted robbery. Mr Finnegan strongly denied the allegation.

The inquest continues on Monday with forensics testimony.

Belfast Telegraph