Duo deny failed fake gun robbery attempt

Two Belfast men who are both in their 40s have gone on trial accused of trying to hold up a Co Antrim petrol station with a fake gun.

Monday, 2nd July 2018, 7:03 pm
Updated Monday, 16th July 2018, 5:01 pm

Iain Rea, 48 and of Annadale Crescent, and William James McCartan, 44 and of Annadale Flats, each in the south of the city, both deny two charges of attempted robbery and possessing an imitation firearm.

Their trial at Belfast Crown Court on Monday heard how a shop assistant was confronted by a masked man carrying a handgun at the Solo station in Whitehead at around 9.25pm on June 13, 2016.

The court heard the would-be robber fled empty-handed after the assistant shouted “why are you doing this?” and “get the f*** out of my shop”.

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The jury heard a resident nearby had noticed a suspicious car, a gold Renault Clio with tinted windows and a body kit, at an apartment block at around 8.30pm, and looking from the kitchen window, saw a male in the driver’s seat being joined by a man wearing a latex mask, before the car drove off. The registration number was noted and police called.

At 11.30pm it was seen at a filling station on the Ravenhill Road, east Belfast, and armed police teams were sent.

A balaclava was located in the front footwell of the passenger’s side. Rea was arrested in the vehicle.

He made a no comment interview.

His flat at Annadale Crescent was also searched and an ASDA bag for life was retrieved which contained a items including an imitation firearm, a mask and gloves.

A prosecutor said McCartan was arrested “some time later”, and during police interview, McCartan said he knew Rea and at one time had been “partying in his flat and had had worn the mask and gloves”.

The jury also heard that when the mask was tested for forensic evidence, McCartan’s DNA was found on the item.

The trial continues.