Northern Ireland

Man accused of trying to rob pharmacy at knifepoint detained just before he entered politician’s constituency office

Connor Bleakley allegedly discarded a blade in a bin following a bid to steal medication from a chemist in Larne
Connor Bleakley allegedly discarded a blade in a bin following a bid to steal medication from a chemist in Larne Connor Bleakley allegedly discarded a blade in a bin following a bid to steal medication from a chemist in Larne

A man accused of trying to rob a Co Antrim pharmacy at knifepoint was detained just before he entered a local politician’s constituency office, the High Court has heard.

Connor Bleakley had allegedly discarded the blade in a bin following the bid to steal medication from the chemist in Larne.

The 27-year-old, of Hillmount Gardens in the town, faces charges of attempted robbery, possession of an offensive weapon with intent, and common assault in connection with the mid-afternoon incident on May 9.

During a bail application prosecutors said police were alerted after a man went into the pharmacy on Main Street, produced a knife and made a demand for drugs.

A member of staff followed the would-be robber when he left the store and witnessed him put an item in a nearby rubbish bin.

Searches of the bin recovered a knife thought to have been the one brandished inside the pharmacy.

Based on CCTV footage and descriptions provided by staff, Crown lawyer Mark Conlon told the court Bleakley is believed to have been responsible.

“An off duty police officer was in the area at the time and managed to detain the applicant just as he was going to enter the constituency offices of a local politician,” Mr Conlon said.

Bleakley made no comment to most questions put to him in police interviews but gave some indication of his movements in the town on that day.

Amid issues raised about the accused’s mental health, His Honour Judge Geoffrey Miller KC stressed he was not prepared to release him to live alone.

Adjourning the application, he said: “This man needs somebody to supervise him.

“If bail were to be granted it would be on very strict terms, and I’m not happy with him living in Larne given the background."