Page last updated at 13:13 GMT, Thursday, 11 September 2008 14:13 UK

26.5m robbery trial 'ludicrous'

Northern Bank in Belfast
The robbery took place at the Northern Bank's Belfast headquarters

The father of a man accused of involvement in the 26.5m Northern Bank robbery has described as "ludicrous" the prosecution's case against his son.

Chris Ward, 26, of Colinmill, Poleglass, denies taking part in the Belfast robbery in December 2004.

His father Gerard said he would never set up his family to be held captive nor put his mother through the ordeal.

He said the robbers were "criminals, gangsters" who would stop at nothing, adding he "felt like a puppet to them".

Mr Ward rejected a suggestion that the family had "a cosy relationship" with their captors.

"That's completely wrong. It definitely wasn't relaxing - it was very, very frightening," he said.

At one stage, Mr Ward broke down and wept as he recalled "trying to keep it together" for the sake of his "distraught" family.

The trial continues.

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