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Bail denied for man accused of attempted burglary at remote country house

The district judge remarked: 'This man has a record of serious and indictable offences, including kidnapping, robbery and possession of firearms'

A man who allegedly traveled some 40 miles to burgle a “rural country home” has been denied bail after prosecution raised concerns over the potential for other offences to be committed.

Ruling on the bail application for the 54-year-old, the district judge said: “This man has a record of serious and indictable offences, including kidnapping, robbery and possession of firearms.”

Edward James McKay, of Shaws Court in Belfast, appeared charged with attempted burglary and criminal damage at Armagh Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

Prosecution outlined that on October 24, at 2.43am police received a report from a resident at an address in Newry.

She claimed to have heard loud banging coming from an adjoining building.

When she looked out of the window she saw a male she did not recognise, whose face and head was covered.

They knew that the male resident, who is 65, had left for work as he always did as she had heard his vehicle.

Police arrived at 2.50am and observed a male facing the side door of the property.

Upon seeing officers the man allegedly ran into the back garden and was holding a blue chisel and wearing a balaclava and gloves.

Court was told that after dropping he allegedly dropped the chisel, this male, identified as the defendant, was handcuffed and arrested.

Officers observed a crowbar which was wedged in the top of a door to the property and found a backpack containing a second chisel nearby.

Keys found on the defendant related to a Toyota Avensis which located nearby.

Police failed in attempts to apprehend a second male believed to have been involved.

During interview, McKay made no comment.

Prosecution stated the principal objection to bail was risk of further offences.

The defendant had 33 previous convictions on his record and is currently subject to a probation order.

Fears were also voiced in court that McKay could interfere with justice as investigations into a second individual were still ongoing.

Prosecution added: “This address is some 40 miles from where this defendant lives and he has refused to answer why he travelled.”

The defendant’s girlfriend was called to give evidence as she was willing to act as surety on his behalf.

She said: “We have been together for six years, I met him through my ex-husband.

“I have not seen his record but I am aware of most of it, Mr Farrell also made me aware of the charges for possession of firearms.”

District Judge Paul Copeland stated: “This man has a record of serious and indictable offences, including kidnapping, robbery and possession of firearms.

“I am not impressed by this woman’s knowledge of his record and background. There is very little that will convince me of this.,”

He added: “This is simply not going to work.”

Defence solicitor Paul Farrell commented that he was surprised at the evidence which had been given.

District Judge Copeland stated: “This was the burglary of a remote country home.

“You as a professional or semi-professional burglar with gloves, a balaclava, crowbar and a companion targeted this property and travelled from Belfast to carry this out.”

Bail was refused and the case was adjourned until December 18 to Newry Magistrates Court.

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