Belfast Telegraph

Jeweller 'hit with hammer' during Ballycare robbery, court hears

Two men appeared before Belfast High Court in connection with the incident (stock photo)
Two men appeared before Belfast High Court in connection with the incident (stock photo)

By Alan Erwin

A jeweller was struck with a hammer as robbers smashed up her shop in Co Antrim, the High Court has heard.

Prosecutors said the woman was also pinned to the ground and showered in glass during a raid carried out in broad daylight.

Details emerged as two men made court appearances on charges connected with the attack in the Mill Road area of Ballyclare on October 3.

Karl Cosgrove, 29, of Knockview Road, Newtownabbey, and Robert Toan, 33, from Bromley Street in Belfast, are both accused of robbery, arson, common assault, criminal damage and possessing an offensive weapon.

As Cosgrove applied for bail Crown lawyer Conor Maguire set out the circumstances behind the alleged heist.

He said four men entered the jewellery store, one wielding a hammer he used to smash glass cabinets.

The owner of the business was struck on the wrist with the hammer and shoved over, according to the prosecutor.

Mr Maguire said: "One of the men pinned her to the ground with his foot.

"She heard the sound of cabinets being smashed around her, and was showered with glass."

Stock was taken during the raid which left the woman extremely shaken, the court heard.

Five men have now been charged with the robbery.

Cosgrove is allegedly connected as part of a joint enterprise.

He was arrested an hour later while a passenger in a car located close to the scene of an attempt to set fire to another vehicle used by the gang, according to the prosecution case.

During interviews he denied any role or knowledge of the robbery.

Based on the evidence, Mr Maguire said Cosgrove could be distinguished from his co-accused.

Defence barrister Dennis Boyd claimed there was no case against his client on any of the charges apart from the alleged arson.

Granting bail, Mr Justice McAlinden imposed conditions including a ban on entering Ballyclare or any contact with the jeweller.

Meanwhile, Toan was remanded in custody after making his first appearance at Belfast Magistrates' Court.

A defence solicitor confirmed he was not seeking bail at this stage.

Toan will appear again by video-link in four weeks time.

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