Northern Ireland

Ismay killing: Accused bail revoked over Facebook comments

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 man charged with murdering a prison officer in Belfast had his bail revoked over Facebook comments about a policeman's photo.

Christopher Robinson, of Aspen Park in Dunmurry, was also held to have broken the terms of his release by failing to disclose details of a mobile phone.

Based on the two identified breaches of bail, a judge at Belfast Magistrates' Court remanded him back into custody.

Mr Robinson, 46, is accused over the killing of Adrian Ismay in March.

He also faces a further charge of possessing explosives with intent to endanger life.

Mr Ismay suffered serious leg injuries when a booby-trap bomb exploded under the van he was driving in the east of the city.

The 52-year-oldb died following a return to hospital 11 days later.

Mr Robinson is allegedly linked to the bombing by CCTV footage of a car believed to have been used when the device was planted at the victim's Hillsborough Drive home in the early hours of 4 March.

Image caption Based on the two identified breaches of bail, a judge at Belfast Magistrates' Court remanded Robinson back into custody

Forensic examination of the car revealed traces of RDX, a component in high explosive material, on its rear floor and seats.

Mr Robinson was said to have known Mr Ismay through working with him as a volunteer with St John Ambulance.

Earlier this month, a prohibition was imposed on him putting messages on social media.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The bomb partially exploded after Mr Ismay drove his van over a speed ramp

In court on Thursday, a detective sergeant involved in the murder investigation claimed Mr Robinson began posting again on 16 October.

He alleged that the defendant provided a photo of a PSNI officer to another social media user and then commented on it when it was put online.

"Last night police had to apply to Facebook to have the image of the police officer and text removed from a Facebook page," he said.

The judge was told a mobile phone discovered on Robinson when he was arrested on Wednesday is to be examined.

Strenuously opposing the accused being released from custody again, the detective claimed there had been up to five previous breaches of bail, including failure to comply with a curfew.

A defence lawyer argued that his client only purchased the phone this week and had planned to provide police with the number.

With Mr Robinson denying that he posted the Facebook comments, his solicitor claimed someone else must have used his account.

But another detective responded: "They would have to have known the user name and password - it's highly unlikely."

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