Post office robber 'left for dead'
A robber was left to bleed to death by associates after being shot during a north Belfast post office raid which went wrong, an inquest has heard.
Patrick Ward, 26, was discovered at a flat following a failed robbery at Ballysillan post office in October 1999. He was shot in the chest by the postmaster, a previous hearing was told.
A witness who said he later won a case for wrongful arrest against police when questioned by detectives about his alleged involvement has now been accused of involvement in the robbery by Ward family lawyer Fiona Doherty.
She claimed at a coroner's court inquest hearing in Belfast: "This is an operation you had planned which went wrong and as a result of which Mr Ward was injured and left for dead." The witness said he had never been in Ballysillan post office and the claim was not true.
Ms Doherty said Mr Ward, from Whiterock Gardens in Belfast but staying at Kansas Avenue where he was found dead, was left bleeding profusely after he was shot at the post office during the attempted robbery.
She challenged the alleged gang associate: "You and others drove him to Kansas Avenue, left him in the hall of number 28 where essentially he bled to death." But the man categorically denied the allegation.
The witness testified he had returned to his girlfriend's flat on Kansas Avenue, the same complex as Mr Ward's, after a row with her on the day of Mr Ward's death. He was unable to get in the front door as a key was broken in the lock.
Nearby workman Francis Marron was asked to look at the door and described what he saw. "I looked in the letterbox and saw a man who is in his 20s lying on his back with his head towards the door," a statement from Mr Marron said. He added: "He looked like a corpse."
Thomas Edgar was working in the area and told the inquest he saw a black Ford Escort park and block a road. He observed three men running from the vehicle, although he did not see them actually emerge from it. One of the men was limping.
When he approached the car he recalled he saw a black pistol on the passenger seat and a pool of blood. Police were called. The inquest continues next Monday.