Northern Ireland

Adrian Ismay murder: Statement 'cannot be used in court'

Adrian Ismay Image copyright iSmay family
Image caption Adrian Ismay died 11 days after he was injured when a bomb exploded under his van

A statement given to police by the brother of a man charged with murdering a prison officer cannot be used in court, a judge has ruled.

Peter Robinson had refused to answer questions in court, claiming he was threatened by dissident republicans.

His brother, Christopher Robinson, is accused of killing Adrian Ismay, who died 11 days after a bomb exploded under his van in March 2016.

The judge rejected a request for the statement to be used as evidence.

During legal arguments on Tuesday, prosecution barristers asked the judge to allow the statement, which was given to police in 2016 when Peter Robinson was a suspect in the case.

But in letters to the court, Peter Robinson's lawyer argued he had concerns for the safety of himself and his family if he gave evidence at his brother's trial.

Image caption A bomb detonated under Adrian Ismay's van in the Cregagh area of Belfast

Peter Robinson also told a detective he "was in fear of a pipe bomb being thrown through the window of his home".

The prosecution argues that Christopher Robinson arrived at his brother's place of work - a hostel in west Belfast - and borrowed his brother's car.

A red Citroen C3 containing the bomb was driven by Christopher Robinson to 52-year-old Mr Ismay's Hillsborough Drive home in 2016.

It was the same make and model Peter Robinson drove to work hours before the device exploded.

Christopher Robinson, 48, from Aspen Park in Poleglass, has been charged with murdering Mr Ismay, possessing an improvised explosive device and providing money or property for the purposes of terrorism.

He has denied all of the charges against him.

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