Belfast Telegraph

Teenager admits robbing man who later died after fall

Costica Munteanu leaves the court in Derry yesterday after being charged with robbing Conall Kerrigan
Costica Munteanu leaves the court in Derry yesterday after being charged with robbing Conall Kerrigan
Conall Kerrigan

By George Jackson

A jobless Romanian, who police believe is part of a crime gang that targets people out socialising in Northern Ireland, has been charged with robbing a man who was found dead shortly afterwards at the bottom of Derry's Walls.

Costica Munteanu (19) has admitted robbing Conall Kerrigan of his wallet on August 23 last year.

Mr Kerrigan's body was found by police behind the Millennium Forum, after he was reported missing by members of his family following a night out in Derry.

Munteanu, from Maplewood Lawn in Tallaght, Dublin, also admitted stealing iPhones, each valued at £600, from two women the day before Mr Kerrigan's body was found.

The investigating officer in the case told District Judge Barney McElholm at the Magistrate's Court in Derry that following the reported disappearance of Mr Kerrigan last August, PSNI officers viewed security camera footage of the city walls.

The recordings showed "the final movements of Mr Kerrigan prior to his death".

She said the footage showed the victim being robbed by two men, both of them Romanian.

The thefts of the two iPhones took place in the same area the previous night, and the same two men were involved in both incidents, the court was told.

"Unfortunately, no local police officers in this area were able to identify the two men. But, after a press release was issued appealing for help, gardai from Dublin contacted the PSNI and said they were able to identify the two men," she said.

"Both men were listed as wanted in Northern Ireland and last Saturday night the defendant was seen in Belfast and arrested, cautioned and interviewed for all of the offences.

"The police are objecting to the defendant being granted bail for two reasons.

"We believe the defendant to be a flight risk because he has no address in, nor any ties to, Northern Ireland and we believe his co-offender has already fled the country.

"We believe he is a member of an organised criminal gang operating in the city centres in Derry and Belfast which specialises in deliberately targeting vulnerable people who have dropped their guard when out socialising late at night," the officer said.

Defence solicitor Brian Stelfox said the defendant was admitting the three offences.

He said his client had no previous criminal record and he asked the District Judge to consider dealing with the case and finalising its outcome.

Mr Stelfox described the offending as opportunist.

However, the District Judge declined to deal with the case.

He said that what he had in mind was not a fine but rather to refer the matter to the Crown Court.

He said that because the defendant had no ties to, nor address in, Northern Ireland, he was remanding him into immediate custody.

The defendant will appear in court for a video link hearing on March 3.

Belfast Telegraph


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