Page last updated at 15:31 GMT, Friday, 26 September 2008 16:31 UK

Banker 'unaware' of shift partner

CCTV footage of Northern Bank robbery - PSNI
The thieves removed 26.5m from the bank

The banker seized and forced to help steal 26.5m from the Northern Bank has insisted he did not know who he would be working with on the day of the raid.

Kevin McMullan has insisted he did not know the accused - Chris Ward - was the second keyholder to the vault.

He said he did not know it was Mr Ward until he was delivered to his home by a kidnap gang the night before.

Mr McMullan said he left work early on the Friday to collect a Christmas present for his wife from a shop.

The assistant manager told the trial at Belfast Crown Court he had not seen the completed rota of keyholders for the following week before leaving - knowing only that he was the senior keyholder for the Monday, 20 December late shift.

Northern Bank robbery scene
The banks headquarters in Belfast was targeted by the thieves

Mr Ward, a former supervisor in the Northern Bank Cash Centre, denies involvement in the robbery and two charges of abducting Mr McMullan and his wife Karyn.

The 26-year-old from Colinmill, Poleglass, on the outskirts of west Belfast is claimed by the prosecution to have been the 'inside man' for the robbery.

Mr McMullan went through 15 interviews and made 13 statements to police after the ordeal he and his wife went through, defence counsel said.

The lawyer said Mr McMullan had not told police during the interviews he did not know who he would be on shift with.

Chris Ward
Chris Ward denies being the 'inside man' for the robbery

"I can find nowhere in the evidence that I have been provided with where you ever said you were not aware when you left on 17 December 2004," he said.

Mr McMullan said: "I don't remember being asked that question. My evidence has been, as it was the other day, that when I was at home I didn't know who was coming to join me because I didn't know who was on the late shift with me."

The lawyer spent nearly two hours taking Mr McMullan through clips from security cameras at the cash centre in the basement of the Northern Bank HQ in Belfast's Donegall Square.

He said they appeared to show Ward walking around the departments in the centre carrying a piece of paper and having discussions with members of staff - the last being Mr McMullan himself and it was likely to have been discussion on a draft rota.

The film showed Ward using his computer after the conversations, printing out a piece of paper and fixing it to the inside of the door to the centre after removing another sheet of paper from the door.

He said it was a "fair inference" that it was the new rota which he had put up on the door at 14.54 on the Friday.

Soon afterwards Mr McMullan was seen standing by the door right in front of the notice talking to someone for four minutes before opening the door and leaving work.

The trial was adjourned until Monday.

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