Man accused of Co Armagh 'ATM bombing'

Published Wednesday, 25 June 2014
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A man accused of mounting a bomb attack on a cash machine containing £90,000 must remain in custody, a High Court judge has ruled.

Man accused of Co Armagh 'ATM bombing'
The scene of the blast at Hamiltonsbawn, Co Armagh. (© UTV)

Ioan Anton, 37, was refused bail amid claims he used explosives in a bid to steal the contents of the ATM.

Although no money was stolen in the raid at a Costcutters shop in Hamiltonsbawn, Co Armagh, prosecutors revealed that around £1,000 was destroyed.

Police also believe a similar method was used in a separate cash heist from a machine in nearby Carrickmore, Co Tyrone less than two weeks earlier, the court heard.

Anton, a Romanian national with an address at Brega Hamlet Lane, Balbriggan, Dublin, denies charges of criminal damage, attempted theft and causing an explosion likely to endanger life or property.

He was arrested along with a co-accused after police stopped a Volkswagen Passat in Keady 12 hours after the Hamiltonsbawn attack on 5 June.

Officers had earlier discovered the ATM ablaze and connected to a battery pack and wires. A baseball cap and adhesive tape were also found at the scene.

Gas is believed to have been used to carry out the explosion.

Witnesses told police they heard a loud bang at Costcutters and saw another car speed off.

An Audi A4 which crashed into a tree less than three miles from the scene forms part of the investigation.

Natalie Pinkerton, prosecuting, told the court that irreparable damage was caused to the Danske Bank ATM.

She said: "Of the £90,000 that was within the machine just over £1,000 was destroyed. However, no cash is believed to have been taken."

Mr Justice Horner was told the device and modus operandi in the Hamiltonsbawn attack were similar to that used previously in Carrickmore where a large amount of money was stolen.

Anton and his co-accused were questioned about that raid but released on police bail without charge.

Setting out the case against him for the explosion at Hamiltonsbawn, Ms Pinkerton claimed he is linked by CCTV footage to the purchase of gloves and wiring from a B&Q store in Dublin the day before.

Opposing bail, she added: "The explosion aspect of this incident does create a risk to the public."

Defence counsel Tom McCreanor argued that there is still no forensic link to his client.

"Mr Anton did, through his solicitor, during interview deny involvement in the offence," he said.

The barrister also stressed there had been insufficient evidence to charge Anton with the Carrickmore raid.

But refusing bail due to risks the accused could flee or re-offend, Mr Justice Horner stated: "This was a very serious incident involving a home-made bomb in order to obtain access to an ATM."

© UTV News
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