22-year-old accused of armed robbery at Maghera service station worked there

Magherafelt Court House
Magherafelt Court House

A young man accused of taking part in an armed robbery at Gort filling station in Maghera earlier this year was said by a PSNI detective to have worked at the business for a year, a court heard.

Benjamin Mark Hagan, 22, of Moss Road, Lambeg, Lisburn, is accused of robbing the filling station of £1,500 in cash and £300 in cigarettes.

He is also charged with having a firearm or imitation firearm to commit the offence on February 5.

An application for bail by Hagan was refused by District Judge Nigel Broderick at Magherafelt Magistrates Court as he believed there was a risk of further offending.

Counsel defending said there was nothing relevant against Hagan who, he stressed, had not breached his current bail conditions.

He pointed out that an address was available to him at Coagh and he would abide a court order barring him from entering Maghera.

Opposing bail, the police detective said two males wearing balaclavas had entered the filling station and pointed guns at the staff before making off with cash and cigarettes.

He said a member of staff had followed the getaway car to Knockloughrim school where they had abandoned the chase.

The detective said Hagan had been questioned in relation to the robbery on February 18 but was released after denying any involvement in the incident.

Continuing, the detective said accused was arrested again at his Lisburn address in connection with the matter and phones were seized during a search of the house. He said Hagan told police he was not guilty.

However, the detective claimed analyst of the phones linked Hagan with a co-accused and latex gloves found where the getaway vehicle was burned out near Toomebridge showed a full DNA profile of the defendant.

When these matters were put to Hagan during questioning he declined to give an account for them, he went on.

He added that police believed there was a “significant risk” of the accused re-offending if released on bail.

He said the firearms used in the robbery had not been recovered and the defendant is on bail in connection with an incident at Tiger’s Bay on June 19 in which a man sustained grievous bodily harm when attacked by men with baseball bats, and with disorderly behaviour in Lisburn on August 29.

In reply to a question from the judge, the detective said it was believed Hagan drove the getaway car used in the Gort filling station robbery.

He revealed that police would soon be questioning a third suspect in connection with the robbery.

Judge Broderick remanded Hagan in custody to appear again in court by videolink on October 14. He told him that he could make an application for bail to the High Court.

His co-accused Brian David Dean (48), of Glenrosa Street, Belfast, who is accused of robbery, possessing a firearm and ammunition without a certificate, was also remanded in custody until October.