Woman 'took part in £15k burglary in Ballyclare because of her drug addiction', court told

The High Court in Belfast. Picture: Google
The High Court in Belfast. Picture: Google

Prosecutors claimed Andrea Wilson, 34, was one of two intruders who beat and whipped the victim until he revealed the combination for a safe at his house in Ballyclare.

Jewellery, cash and the keys to two high-value cars were stolen from the property at Hillhead Road in the early hours of August 20.

Wilson, of Parkgate Avenue in Belfast, denies charges of aggravated burglary, false imprisonment, attempted grievous bodily harm with intent and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

A 43-year-old co-defendant, Paul Patterson, of no fixed abode, is accused of the same offences.

The victim encountered a man and woman in his hallway after he heard glass smashing and got out of bed to investigate.

Crown lawyer Adrian Higgins, said the man was struck on the head with a hatchet which the intruders had brought with them. During a struggle he was forced onto the floor and tied up by the burglars.

"They repeatedly kicked and punched him, and whipped him with a dog chain until he provided the code for a safe where cash and valuables were kept,” prosecution counsel submitted.

Keys for Aston Martin and Land Rover vehicles were taken from the vault, along with watches and jewellery belonging to his late wife worth up to £15,000 in total.

As the pair cleaned out the safe, the victim managed to wriggle free from his ties and escape from the house. He ran across fields in his bare feet and wearing only boxer shorts to a neighbouring property to raise the alarm, the court heard.

Later that morning a woman went to a neighbouring property where she ordered a taxi which took her and an associate to the Parkgate Avenue area of Belfast.

Police identified the alleged burglars following inquiries with the cab firm and further research in the area. Three days later officers searched Wilson’s home and recovered items believed to have been stolen during the raid.

Opposing her bid to be released on bail, Mr Higgins claimed the break-in was potentially fuelled by drug addiction.

"This applicant spends £80 a day on cocaine and has run up a debt to drug dealers,” he contended. “Police believe this may have been the motivation for this offence.”

Defence barrister Sean Doherty confirmed Wilson “maintains her innocence”. He described the mother-of-two as a vulnerable individual who has struggled with mental health issues.

Adjourning the hearing, Lord Justice McCloskey requested more medical evidence before deciding on the bail application