Belfast Telegraph

Judge considers verdict in Christine Connor police murder bid trial

Accused: Christine Connor outside court yesterday
Accused: Christine Connor outside court yesterday

By Ashleigh McDonald

Judgment was reserved yesterday in the trial of a Belfast woman accused of possessing explosives and attempting to murder police.

Christine Connor denies six offences linked to two incidents in the north of the city in May 2013.

During the second, pipe bombs were thrown at police which the Crown say was an attempt to murder an officer after they were lured to the scene.

In a non-jury trial which commenced at the end of last November and ran until mid-December, the Crown made the case that the 35-year-old north Belfast woman made bogus calls prior to both incidents and was involved in the two separate attacks.

In the first incident on May 16, 2013, an early morning 999 call was made by a female who claimed she had seen an object she thought was a bomb in a garden on the Ligoneil Road.

Officers observed a large plume of smoke in the area shortly after the call on CCTV and when police went to the scene they observed two scorch marks on the road.

The second incident, which occurred on the Crumlin Road in the early hours of May 26, 2013, followed a hoax 999 call made from a woman who claimed she had been attacked by her boyfriend.

When two officers responded to the domestic abuse allegation and called to a house on the Crumlin Road, two pipe bombs were launched from an alleyway. The first device detonated beside an officer's foot. As he ran to safety he tripped on a kerb and a second device was launched.

Prosecutors argued that Connor lured police to the scene of the second incident and that she is "linked to the call by voice ID and DNA on the Nokia phone" found at the scene.

Reminding the court his client denied all the charges, Tim Moloney QC said the key matter about the first incident was whether or not the devices thrown were pipe bombs and whether or not they could be capable of endangering a life.

He said that in the aftermath, there were "scorch marks but no damage to the road" and pointed out a car driving on the road when the device detonated was not damaged.

The barrister said that if she was to be convicted of attempting to murder a police constable during the second incident, the court would have to be sure Connor "intended he would be killed as a result of the attack on him".

The barrister said a conviction could only be reached if the court "could be sure the defendant was the person responsible for throwing the pipe bombs towards the constable".

Mr Moloney also pointed out that the second device was thrown in the middle of the road and not directly at where a "prone and confined officer" found himself after the first device was launched.

He said that due to these circumstances, there was "reasonable doubt as to whether or not there was an intention to kill".

Connor was released on bail ahead of Judge Stephen Fowler's judgment.

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