Page last updated at 13:42 GMT, Tuesday, 23 September 2008 14:42 UK

Bank manager told 'sister dead'

Chris Ward
Mr Ward denies the charges against him

A bank manager has described how he was told a family member had been killed before he and his wife were kidnapped.

Kevin McMullan was giving evidence at the trial of Chris Ward who is accused of the 26.5 Northern Bank robbery in December 2004.

Mr McMullan said on the night before the robbery, two men dressed as police officers called at his home and told him a family member had been killed.

He described nearly fainting as he wrongly assumed his sister had died.

They told him he had to identify the body of a family member killed in a car crash in Holywood, County Down.

He said he went into the house and grabbed for a mantle piece at his home to steady himself, but was grabbed from behind, forced to the ground and had a gun put to the back of his head.

Mr McMullan's wife, Kyran, was similarly attacked as their 25-hour ordeal began. He was told that if anything went wrong his wife would be shot in the head.

Mrs McMullan was due to be cross-examined on Tuesday, but after an emotional time in the witness box on Monday as she described her own ordeal, a defence barrister said he did not "wish to contribute further to this lady's distress".

Chris Ward, 26, of Colinmill, Poleglass, denies taking part in the multi-million robbery at the Belfast headquarters of the Northern Bank.

The case continues.

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