Northern Ireland news

Second man charged with Liam Christie murder

Liam Christie was shot dead on in Antrim

A SECOND alleged gunman has appeared in court charged with the murder of Liam Christie.

Appearing at Coleraine Magistrates Court by video link from police custody, Paul Armstrong (43) from Hawkswood Terrace in Antrim was charged with murder and possessing two 9 mm handguns and ammunition with intent to endanger life on October 20.

Last week, Jonathan Patterson (44) from Whinburn Close, also in Antrim, was remanded into custody facing similar charges.

Father-of-three Mr Christie (43) was shot eight times at close range as he lay asleep at home in the Craighill area of Antrim.

In court on Monday, defence solicitor Ciaran Shiels said he was not applying for bail.

A police sergeant confirmed that Armstrong was arrested on Friday, questioned throughout Saturday and denied involvement claiming that “he had never been inside” the victim’s home.

Mr Sheils put to the officer that “primarily, the nature of the evidence is in relation to CCTV” including footage from a petrol station which shows “two hooded individuals making their way in the direction of the property".

When the office said there was also forensic evidence, the solicitor tried to question him further but Deputy District Judge Christopher Holmes told the lawyer unless he was making a full bail application, he could not proceed.

Armstrong was remanded into custody and the case adjourned to November.

When Patterson was charged last week, he did apply for bail and the court heard Mr Christie was shot with two different guns, twice to the head, twice in the chest, once in the face and “one under his jaw at close range where the firearm had been pushed against his jaw".

The ambulance service had contacted police around 9am after the victim was found “lying in a pool of his own blood” and when police arrived, they noted a number of shell casings in the floor.

An officer said that according to local residents, the front door of the property was “routinely left unlocked and police noted there was no sign of forced entry,” adding that enquiries had uncovered CCTV of the area which police believe show the two alleged killers on their way to Mr Christie’s home.

When Patterson was arrested and interviewed, he denied involvement.

Police said the killing was a “brutal execution” of a sleeping victim. The opposed bail saying they feared that if he was freed, Patterson was likely to reoffend, could interfere with witnesses or obstruct the ongoing and live investigation given the fact that neither his car, his clothing nor the firearms have been seized.

Likewise to Armstrong, Patterson was remanded into custody and the case was adjourned to November 22.


Northern Ireland news