Christine Connor drops her challenge to pipe bomb murder bid sentence

A woman jailed for a pipe bomb bid to murder police in north Belfast has abandoned a legal challenge to having her sentence increased by five years.

Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 2:22 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 2:27 pm
Christine Connor

Christine Connor was set to dispute the new 25-year term imposed over the attack on officers lured to the scene by a hoax 999 call in May 2013.

But the Court of Appeal heard today that her attempt to overturn their ruling is to be “discontinued”.

The 36-year-old refused to leave her cell for formal confirmation that the legal application had ended, judges were told.

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Connor was found guilty of attempting to murder a PSNI constable and causing an explosion likely to endanger life.

According to the prosecution she carried out a trial run by throwing a pipe bomb on the Ligoniel Road and then phoning to say a device had been left on a wall.

In a second incident, a bogus emergency call brought officers to the Crumlin Road in the early hours of May 28.

Connor, whose previous address in Belfast is subject to reporting restrictions, was said to have been behind the hoax, claiming to be a victim of domestic abuse who needed urgent police assistance.

When officers attended a house in the area a pipe bomb was thrown at them from a nearby alleyway.

At the scene police found evidence linking Connor to the attack, including a hoodie top which bore her blood, as well as a shopping bag containing her phone and gloves with her DNA on them.

She contested the finding reached at her non-jury trial that she was the one who actually threw the devices.

But in January last year the Court of Appeal backed prosecution submissions that even if someone else had thrown the devices, Connor was still responsible as part of a joint enterprise.

Her participation in the explosions could have taken the form of planning and preparing the attack.

Declaring her original 20-year sentence to be “unsustainably generous”, senior judges imposed a substitute term of 25 years imprisonment, plus an extended licence period of four years.”

Preliminary legal steps had been taken to challenge the Public Prosecution Service’s entitlement to seek an increase in her period behind bars.

But in court today Frank O’Donoghue QC, on behalf of Connor, announced: “Whatever application was to be proceeded with is to be discontinued.”

Despite a video-link to Hydebank Wood women’s prison, judges were also informed: “Ms Connor, who is on notice of this hearing, is refusing to leave her cell and attend.”

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