Man from Derry allegedly broke into Belfast church where he planned to get married

A local groom-to-be allegedly broke into the Belfast church where he planned to get married, the High Court heard on Friday.

Monday, 18th October 2021, 12:34 pm

Philip Lynch, 24, is accused of returning to St Michael the Archangel chapel on Finaghy Road North hours after meeting a priest to discuss his wedding.

Lynch, of Clooney Road in Derry, faces a charge of burglary with intent to steal on July 18 this year.

During a bail application prosecution counsel Mark Conlon said police went to the church after an alarm went off at around 9.30pm.

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Step ladders had been erected at the side of the building leading onto a roof and first floor window.

“It is believed access was gained through that window,” the prosecutor submitted.

He disclosed that blood discovered on a bracket at the scene has allegedly been forensically matched to Lynch.

The defendant was arrested last month and accepted attending the church earlier that day.

Mr Conlon told the court: “He said he was there discussing his upcoming wedding service with the local priest.

“He tried to explain there would be no reason why his DNA would be found anywhere other than the pews where he and his fiancée were seated at the time.”

Defence barrister Turlough Madden detailed his client’s attempts to tackle alcohol and substance misuse.

Adjourning the application for bail, Lord Justice Maguire suggested obtaining a report to show Lynch’s efforts.