Northern Ireland

Adrian Ismay bomb explosion caught on CCTV

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

The moment a booby-trap bomb exploded under a prison officer's van was captured on CCTV, a court has been told.

Adrian Ismay, 52, died 11 days after being caught in the blast outside his home in east Belfast while on his way to work in March 2016.

Christopher Alphonsos Robinson, 48, denies murdering Mr Ismay.

A police officer told Belfast Crown Court he examined footage from four properties near Mr Ismay's home.

One of the cars seen was a Citroen C3, which the prosecution says belonged to the accused's sister-in-law.

The detective constable said, at one stage, in the middle of the night the car passed along the street, turned and parked, and waited near the victim's home.

Some time later, a man ran towards the vehicle, got in, and was driven away with the headlights switched off.

The officer then described all the movements of cars and people in the area overnight until the time when Mr Ismay's van was seen leaving his home, shortly after 07:00, moments before it exploded.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Christopher Robinson denies Mr Ismay's murder

Earlier, the court heard how a large piece of shrapnel was a "major significant factor" in the death of Mr Ismay.

Former state pathologist Prof Jack Crane, who is now retired, carried out the post-mortem examination on the father-of-three.

He told the Diplock style non-jury trial that there had been multiple shrapnel wounds to Mr Ismay's legs and right eye, but they had been mostly superficial.

However, Prof Crane revealed Mr Ismay had later died from a pulmonary embolism caused by an unusually large blood clot in his heart and one lung.

Under cross examination the pathologist stated that in his opinion the clot was caused by Mr Ismay's injuries forcing him to be largely immobile in the 11 days after the explosion.

He added that he believed this was due to a large piece of shrapnel from the explosion which was embedded behind his left knee.


Christopher Alphonsos Robinson, with an address at Aspen Park, in the Twinbrook area of west Belfast, also denies causing the explosion and providing a car for the purposes of terrorism.

The court also heard that in the days immediately after the explosion, Mr Ismay had been suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, experiencing flashbacks, anxiety, palpitations and poor sleep.

A forensic scientist told the court how he had examined the scene of the explosion and found fragments of plastic, magnets, wiring, batteries and switches consistent with explosive booby-trap devices placed under cars.

The type of explosive used was RDX, a material sometimes found in Semtex, he confirmed.

He said he had concluded the device was placed underneath and behind the driver's seat using a magnet, and detonated by a device such as a mercury tilt switch.

He was unable to determine the likely quantity of explosives used but he conceded it was little more than what would have been sufficient to destroy the device itself.

The trial is expected to last several weeks.

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