Dramatic CCTV footage of a terrorist attempt to blow up prison officer Adrian Ismay has been played at the trial of a west Belfast man accused of murdering the 52-year-old father of three.
The non-jury, Belfast Crown Court trial has already heard that the footage of the March 2016 explosion outside Mr Ismay’s Hillsborough Drive home was uncovered from east Belfast Willowfield Funeral Home whose security camera overlooked the scene.
The footage captured Mr Ismay’s blue VW van driving towards the Cregagh Road shortly after 7am on March 4.
However, it never reached the junction. As the van approached a ramp, suddenly a booby-trap device exploded under the vehicle.
The front bumper of the van was blown off, as black smoke, debris and dust from the blast billowed up around the van before Mr Ismay limps from the driver’s side to the passenger side and opens that door. Three passers-by came to his aid, helping him across the street to a side wall.
The court has already heard that as he sat on the pavement, the St John Ambulance man directed those helping him on how to bandage and treat his wounds.
Although seriously injured in the no-warning blast, Mr Ismay initially survived the attack, spending four days in hospital before dying from a heart attack a week later on March 15, after complaining of chest pains.
Christopher Alphonsos Robinson, 48, from Aspen Park, Poleglass denies the murder of Mr Ismay, possessing the under-car improvised explosive device, and alternatively, supplying a vehicle knowing or supecting it would be used in terrorism.
Trial judge Mr Justice McAlinden had heard the footage was uncovered by police who “trolled” local shops and businesses for any security camera film that may have captured what happened. In addition to securing film of the moment of the blast, their investigations also turned up what the prosecution claim is film of the bomber’s car, a red-coloured Citroen C3.
Footage of the car was also played to the court, allegedly showing it as it drove through Belfast, until it was then seen driving past Mr Ismay’s home, shortly before 2.30am. It then returns, parking up, its headlights off. Moments later someone running down the street was pictured getting into the back of the C3 before driving off, its headlights still switched off.
The prosecution claims the Citroen car belonged to Robinson’s sister-in-law. A senior scientific officer said that traces of RDX explosive were found on swabs taken from the rear of the C3, but agreed with the defence that “so minute” were the traces that they could have been three to four times removed from any direct contact with the military grade explosives.
In addition to the alleged 29 sightings of the C3 captured by CCTV cameras, the court was also shown the alleged 26 sightings of Robinson’s own silver-coloured Skoda car and the routes it took earlier that evening.