Northern Ireland

County Armagh ATM bomb attack accused denied bail

Laganside court complex on Oxford Street
Image caption Mr Justice Horner told Belfast High Court it was a "very serious incident" involving a home-made bomb and refused Mr Anton bail

A man accused of mounting a bomb attack on a cash machine in County Armagh containing £90,000 must remain in custody, a High Court judge has ruled.

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

No money was stolen in the raid at a Costcutters shop in Hamiltonsbawn, but around £1,000 was destroyed.

Police believe a similar method was used in a separate cash raid from an ATM machine in County Tyrone.

The court was told the incident in Carrickmore happened less than two weeks earlier.

Anton, a Romanian national with an address at Brega Hamlet Lane, Balbriggan, in the Republic of Ireland, 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 attack in Hamiltonsbawn 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 that crashed into a tree less than three miles from the scene forms part of the investigation.

A prosecution lawyer told the court irreparable damage had been 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 Mr Anton for the explosion at Hamiltonsbawn, the prosecuting lawyer claimed he was 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."

A defence lawyer argued there was still no forensic link to his client.

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

He also said there had been insufficient evidence to charge Mr Anton with the Carrickmore raid.

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

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