A woman accused of taking prescription medication “belonging to a deceased person” is set to spend Christmas behind bars.
Angela May Jean 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 this year.
The charges are linked to the death of Robin McMaster (40), at the same address.
Angela Irwin was arrested after Mr McMaster’s body was found at the flat 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.”
On Thursday, the defendant appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court via video link from Hydebank Prison, where she has been on remand in connection with the false representation charge.
A prosecution lawyer said the file was still in the early stages of preparation and had a target date of the end of February.
Enquiries were ongoing, she said.
The court heard the allegation was that Irwin had taken “prescription medication belonging to a deceased person”.
District Judge Nigel Broderick said there “may well be a complex investigation” but that no other charges were before the court.
Defence solicitor Nigel McIlrath said his client had made a “certain admission”.
Remanding Irwin in continuing custody, Judge Broderick adjourned the matter to January 3 and said the case before the court should be expedited and not delayed “by any other investigation”.
Robin McMaster was a big Ballymena United fan and he died just days before the side went top of the league this season.
At Mr McMaster’s Service of Thanksgiving in Ahoghill at the end of November, his brother Richard said: “He was a good-hearted kind person who would give you his last penny”.