An alleged serial burglar accused of breaking into pensioners’ houses was refused bail on Thursday.
Having heard claims that 45-year-old Patrick Joseph Ward evaded police “for considerable number of months”, that he has convictions for burglary on both sides of the border and there were warrants for his arrest, District Judge Rosie Watters declared there was “no way I’m going to give him bail... he isn’t getting bail from here so he can go to the High Court.”
Ward, from Victoria Street in Lurgan, is accused of burglary at six different houses in Portadown and Lurgan on specific dates on 13 April this year and 8 and 30 October last year as well as one count of going equipped for theft.
He is further accused of six driving offences on 3 March this year including dangerous driving, driving with neither a licence nor insurance as well as failing to stop, remain and report an accident.
A bench warrant in relation to an allegation that he assaulted Aa woman on 25 September last year was also executed.
Giving evidence to the court, Detective Constable Murphy claimed that with four of the burglaries involving elderly couples, “the police feel that there’s a real need to protect members of the public from this particular burglar.”
He csaid that Ward’s blood was found at the scene of at least one burglary incident and that as well as these allegations, he was also being sought for similar offences in Londonderry.
DC Murphy said he was called in by police who arrested Ward because he allegedly gave false details but the officer had dealings with him before.
In relation to the driving offences, the detective described how he spotted Ward but the defendant sped off and crashed into two police vehicles before be abandoned the car “and has been evading police since.”
Recounting how Ward had convictions on both sides of the border, DC Murphy told the court: “I feel that there’s definitely a real risk of reoffending, a fear of flight and a real need to protect the public from this man.”
Under cross examination, Ward’s defence solicitor suggested he could be released under stringent conditions but was bluntly told the police “do not feel that there is anything we can do to prevent him committing further crimes.”
At the outset of the lawyer’s submissions, Judge Watters warned him he faced “an uphill struggle” to convince her to release Ward, indeed she later refused bail.
Ward was ordered to appear at Craigavon Magistrates Court via videolink on 6 May.