PICTURE : MARK JAMIESON
There were dramatic scenes at Coleraine Courthouse on Friday after a man accused of going on a burglary blitz in the Glens of Antrim collapsed in the dock and was taken away by ambulance.
Michael Thomas Cullen (23), of Lagmore Dale, Dunmurry, near Belfast, had been in court beside a co-accused David Anthony Connors (29), of Old Forge, Dunmurry.
The court heard that at the time of the alleged burglary blitz Connors had been “released on compassionate bail” from prison. It is understood Connors had been on remand in prison in connection with an incident in which he was accused of trying to break into the home of two pensioners with an axe.
At Coleraine Court on Friday the charges had just been read to Cullen and a court clerk was reading out the matters being faced by Connors when Cullen appeared to stumble and had to be grabbed by prison officers to stop him slumping to the ground.
An ambulance was then tasked for Cullen before his lawyer could make a bail application. The men were in court in relation to a series of alleged burglaries overnight on Wednesday into Thursday this week at homes at Layde Drive, Bellisk Drive, Middlepark Avenue and Coast Road in Cushendall when items taken included car keys, bottles of gin and vodka.
There were also alleged burglaries at Glenville Road, Cushendun and Bay Road, Carnlough. The men were also charged with various driving offences including aggravated vehicle taking.
One of the charges faced by Connors was that he failed to return to Maghaberry Prison on May 20 after being released earlier that day on £500 bail. At court on Friday a police officer said he believed he could connect the defendants to the charges.
A solicitor for Connors said no bail application was being made for his client. The lawyer said Connors had been released on “compassionate bail”.
Connors was remanded in custody by District Judge Benita Boyd to appear back at the same court via video link in June. Cullen’s case has been adjourned to Ballymena Court on May 31.