Funeral Service to be held on Tuesday for man whose death in Ballymena led police to launch a murder investigation

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The scene at Devenagh Court on Thursday night. Picture – North East News.

A FUNERAL Service for a 40-year-old man whose death in Ballymena prompted police to launch a murder investigation will take place in Ahoghill on Tuesday.

Robin McMaster’s body was found at his home at Devenagh Court on Thursday.

He was known as a big fan of Ballymena United and friends said it was devastating that he had not lived to see the team going top of the Irish Premiership table on Friday night.

Friends and neighbours have described him as “a gentleman”.

His death shocked the close-knit community in Ballymena’s Rectory estate where he had lived for several years.

His Funeral Service will take place at Logan’s Funeral Home in Ahoghill at noon on Tuesday followed by interment in Ahoghill New Cemetery.

He is the son of Lorraine and stepson of the late Alex Black and brother of Richard, Lindsey and Wendy.

Family and friends called at Lorraine’s home at Royal Court Mews in Gracehill on Sunday to pass on their sympathies.

A woman who is a suspect in the murder probe appeared in court on Saturday to face a charge of fraud by false representation and had bail fixed to go to a hospital when a bed could be arranged.

Angela May Jean Irwin (53), of no fixed address, was described by a police officer at Ballymena Magistrates Court as a “suspect in a potential murder investigation”.

She had been arrested following the death of Mr McMaster, whose body was discovered at a flat at Devenagh Way in Ballymena on Thursday afternoon.

On Thursday night, Detective Chief Inspector Peter McKenna, who is leading the investigation, said: “The death was reported to us at 3pm this afternoon. A post mortem examination has yet to take place but, at this time, I am treating this as murder.

“A 53-year-old woman was subsequently arrested on suspicion of murder and remains in police custody at this time.

“My thoughts go out to the victim’s family at this tragic time.”

On Friday police announced the suspect had been released on bail pending further enquiries ahead of the post mortem on Saturday but that the woman was subsequently re-arrested and charged with fraud by false representation and was due to appear at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Saturday.

At court Irwin was charged with fraud by false representation relating to November 21/22.

The charge was that she ‘dishonestly made a false representation, namely ordering prescription medication with the intention by making the representation to make a gain for yourself or another or to cause a loss to the Northern Health & Social Services Trust’.

A PSNI detective constable said he believed he could connect the accused to the fraud charge.

The officer said he was objecting to bail because there was no suitable address for the defendant and he said the defendant was at a risk of self-harming as during interview the accused said she wanted to harm herself with prescription drugs.

The detective added: “She is still a suspect in a potential murder investigation”.

He said a number of potential witnesses still had to be spoken to.

Defence solicitor Nigel McIlrath said the charge before the court did relate to a “more serious matter” but District Judge Liam McNally said he could only deal with the charge before him.

Mr McIlrath said it was hopeful a bed could be secured for the defendant at Holywell Hospital in Antrim “at the start of the week”.

Judge McNally said to address the concerns expressed about the defendant by the police officer he would eventually like to see a medical report regarding the defendant.

He fixed £750 bail with a condition that Irwin must reside at Holywell Hospital and she is to have no contact with potential witnesses or family members of Mr McMaster.

The judge added: “I’m granting bail because she is going to hospital care” and adjourned the case back to the same court next Thursday.

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