Woman accused of fraud in relation to prescription medication ‘is opting’ to remain in jail on remand

Ballymena Magistrates Court

A woman currently facing a charge of fraud in relation to prescription medication “belonging to a deceased person” is preferring to stay in prison on remand rather than get bail, Ballymena Magistrates Court heard on Thursday.

Angela Irwin (53), of Devenagh Court in Ballymena, is alleged to have committed fraud by false representation by ordering prescription medication with the intention of causing a loss to the Northern Health and Social Services Trust between November 21/22 in 2018.

The charge followed the death of Robin McMaster (40), whose body was found at Devenagh Court on November 22.

On November 22, police said the death was being treated as murder.

Irwin had originally been arrested on suspicion of murder before being released on bail pending further enquiries.

She was then re-arrested and charged with fraud by false representation.

On November 29, police then said: “Following our enquiries we are no longer treating this is as a murder investigation. CID detectives in Ballymena are however continuing to look into the circumstances of his death.”

A previous court heard it alleged that Irwin had taken “prescription medication belonging to a deceased person”.

On Thursday she appeared via video link from Hydebank Prison and defence solicitor Nigel McIlrath said: “She refuses to sign bail”.

A prosecutor said the full file has yet to be received and asked for a four week adjournment.

District Judge Nigel Broderick, however, adjourned the case for one week saying he wanted the investigating officer to come to court with an update.

The judge said the defendant had probably spent more time on remand than she would could receive for the fraud charge.

Judge Broderick said he appreciated it was the defendant’s choice if she wished to remain in custody but he was concerned about the situation.

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