Northern Ireland

Adrian Ismay and murder accused 'volunteered together'

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

Prison officer Adrian Ismay, who survived a bomb explosion but later died from his injuries, told police he had volunteered alongside the man accused of his murder, a court has heard.

Speaking to police from his hospital bed, Mr Ismay said he "never had cross words" with Christopher Robinson.

The two men volunteered with St John Ambulance at the same time.

Mr Robinson, 48, of Aspen Park in Twinbrook, denies murder.

Three days after the bomb exploded under his van in 2016, police interviewed Mr Ismay as he lay injured in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Christopher Robinson denies killing Mr Ismay

He described his former fellow St John Ambulance volunteer physically and said he spoke with a west Belfast accent.

"The last time I saw him was more than two years ago when I worked for St John Ambulance based at Saintfield Road in Belfast," Mr Ismay told police.

"We both worked here as volunteers. I solely knew him on a work basis and never socialised with him.

"He had never been to my home and I had never been to his.

"During the three-to-four years that I worked along with him we never had cross words, we never had any run ins, we actually got on well. We never discussed any topics to do with religion or politics.

"I have been in the prison service for approximately 29 years, so I am pretty certain he would have been aware of my career."

The non-jury Diplock trial heard Mr Ismay applied to become a volunteer with St John Ambulance in March 1998, with Robinson applying in February 2010.

Image caption A bomb detonated under Mr Ismay's blue Volkswagen van as he was driving from his home in the Cregagh area of Belfast

The court heard Mr Ismay was "involved" in Robinson's application process "on behalf of" the organisation.

The court also heard a statement from Mark Patterson, the Governor of the Northern Ireland Prison Service.

Mr Patterson confirmed Mr Ismay joined the prison service in September 1987 and worked in the Maze Prison before being transferred to Hydebank Young Offender's Centre in August 1994.

Mr Ismay was promoted in July 2014 and was transferred to the Prison Service Training College in Millisle, where he acted as a tutor for others.

In his statement, Mr Patterson said Mr Ismay had never been posted to Maghaberry Prison or been involved in training in Roe House - the dissident republican wing at the prison.

The trial continues.

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