Northern Ireland news

Man charged with north Belfast aggravated burglary claims he was 40 miles away at fast food restaurant

Alan Lundy appeared before Belfast Magistrates Court amid heavy security.

A MAN charged with an aggravated burglary in north Belfast where a suspected gun was brandished claims he was at a fast food restaurant 40 miles away.

Alan Lundy is accused of being one of two masked men who forced their way into a house on Ligoniel Road and asked the male and female occupants "where's the gear".

The 39-year-old, of Thornberry Close in the city, appeared before Belfast Magistrates Court yesterday amid heavy security.

He denies entering the alleged victims' home last Friday night with intent to steal and having a firearm with him at the time.

According to police, two men wearing balaclavas came in through an unlocked door.

Lundy was allegedly identified after his mask was pulled off, the court heard.

A woman in the property also claimed a second, unnamed intruder held her in a headlock and made a gun gesture with his fingers.

Opposing bail, a detective sergeant claimed there was a risk of interference with witnesses.

He said the alleged demand about the whereabouts of "the gear" may have been a reference to drugs.

Defence solicitor Darragh Mackin argued that his client has provided a detailed alibi.

"He gave an account of his movements on the night in question, which ranges from being in a KFC a good 40 miles away, to travelling home and accessing WhatsApp and Facebook," Mr Mackin told the court.

Cell-site analysis and wifi account details can be provided to show Lundy was messaging on social media rather than taking part in any burglary, it was contended.

"This is a fundamental case of mistaken identity," the lawyer added.

Lundy was remanded in custody to appear again by video-link on March 15.

As he was being led to the cells he waved to nearly 20 friends and supporters in the public gallery.

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