Belfast Telegraph

Lisburn gun attack accused 'only buying fireworks', court hears

Craig O'Connor was refused bail at Belfast High Court (stock photo)
Craig O'Connor was refused bail at Belfast High Court (stock photo)

By Alan Erwin

A Dublin man allegedly involved in a gun attack on a flat in Lisburn only travelled north to buy fireworks, the High Court has heard.

Craig O'Connor claimed he was asleep in a jeep when it was rammed by police after shots were fired at the property in the early hours of July 3.

The 25-year-old unemployed butcher, of no fixed abode, is one of three men charged with attempted murder and possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.

Bail was refused amid concerns about potential further offences.

Prosecutors said the alleged victim alerted police after he saw a masked gunman approach his home on Lisburn's Ballynahinch Road before leaving in a Honda vehicle.

Minutes later the jeep returned and four shots were fired, the court was told.

Three bullets entered the downstairs flat, with a fourth striking the property above. No one was injured.

Police spotted a Honda leaving the area, pursuing it along the M1 motorway until it came to a halt near Dungannon.

O'Connor and his two co-accused were arrested.

Baseball caps and pairs of sunglasses were found in the vehicle, but no firearm has been recovered.

During interviews O'Connor denied knowing anything about the gun attack, claiming he had been sleeping while out for a drive.

No details on any alleged motive behind the shooting incident were disclosed in court.

Defence barrister Sean Mullan confirmed his client's account that he got into the vehicle with friends from the Republic of Ireland.

"They were coming up to buy fireworks in the Lisburn area, he had fallen asleep on the journey and the next thing he remembers is police ramming the vehicle when they were stopped," counsel said.

Mr Mullan insisted O'Connor does not know the man he is accused of trying to murder and is not forensically linked to the attack.

He asked: "If this was the vehicle used, where is the gun?"

Denying bail, however, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan described proposals for O'Connor to live at an address in Dublin as "entirely inappropriate".

The judge added: "The nature of the incident is extremely serious, it involves the use of a firearm on domestic premises.

"The risk of further offences of this type would be a matter of great concern."

Belfast Telegraph Digital


From Belfast Telegraph