Merseyside trio plead guilty to plot to rob Malone Road home


Three men from Merseyside yesterday pleaded guilty to plotting to plunder the home of a south Belfast family in April 2011.

The trio, 49-year-old Richard Blundell, from Bardsay Road, Liverpool, Craig Murray, aged 30, of Victoria Road, Crosby and 47-year-old Stephen Barlow from Hewitson Road, also Liverpool, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary between March 31 and April 9, 2011.

The charge states that the men, armed with an offensive weapon, namely cable-ties, having entered the house on Belfast’s prestigious Malone Road, did so with intent to steal.

In September 2011, at a High Court bail hearing, Mr Justice McCloskey said the prosecution claims made against the trio had “all the trappings of professional criminals”.

He also pointed out, when granting bail to Murray, a former “nightclub supervisor”, that the prosecution claimed the men were “a highly organised, experienced and sophisticated criminal gang involved in detailed planning, equipping themselves with all kinds of articles, reconnaissance and surveillance tactics and so forth”.

The trio will be back before the court later this month for sentencing.