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detention depression Killer Christopher Robinson struggling to cope with jail time

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Callous: Christopher Robinson

Callous: Christopher Robinson

Callous: Christopher Robinson

Dissident killer Christopher Robinson is facing a tough time behind bars.

Sources close to the one-time Elvis Presley impersonator have predicted the introverted character will not be able to come to terms with his 22-year sentence for the murder of prison officer Adrian Ismay in March 2016.

Robinson, who had been out on bail until his trial, had not been prepared for the massive tariff handed down to him in court this week by Justice Gerry McAlinden.

Dissident sources say he was confident he would not be found guilty of the murder, believing he would escape with a lesser conviction of accessory to murder.

Robinson was cannon fodder and collateral damage for a manipulative terror leadership who preyed on his weaknesses to target Mr Ismay.

“He took being released on bail for such a serious crime as a good indication of how things would turn out,” said one dissident pal.

“At no stage was he expecting a 22 minimum which for him, with his issues, is life. He will struggle badly. The truth is that Christopher Robinson could die behind bars,” said one dissident pal.

NIRA took advantage of Robinson’s vulnerability and his desperation to ‘fit in’ to recruit him to their ranks in a cynical attempt to use him.

“He’s an odd bloke, always was. He always came across as a bit vulnerable, doing the Elvis gigs about the pubs was his thing for a while then he kinda went off the radar. I haven’t seen him in years then the next thing I read is that he is involved with the murder of a prison officer, I couldn’t believe it,” one former associate told Sunday World.

“In my opinion he was targeted by the New IRA because of his nature, he would have been easily manipulated.

“I mean, he’s hardly a master criminal, he used a relative’s car to plant the bomb for f**k’s sake.

"He was the small man in the operation, easily disposable, he was not the brains behind the attack he just stupidly did as he was told, providing them information and now he is paying the highest price while the real killers, those who did mastermind it, are sitting back knowing they got away with murder,” he said.

Mr Justice McAlinden said Robinson (50) played an “intimate and inextricable” role in the death of devoted family man.

Off-duty officer Mr Ismay, a 52-year-old married father of three, died 11 days after suffering serious leg injuries when the Semtex bomb exploded underneath his van shortly after he had driven away from his east Belfast home in 2016.

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Victim: Adrian Ismay

Victim: Adrian Ismay

Victim: Adrian Ismay

Mr Justice McAlinden told Belfast Crown Court: “His murder was perpetrated in pursuance of a twisted republican terrorist ideology.”

Robinson drove his relative’s car on the night of the attack to transport another unknown individual involved across Belfast to plant the bomb.

He has never disclosed the names of any of his accomplices or who gave his orders or how he was recruited into the ranks of the gang.

He is expected to appeal his sentence.

Robinson had met his victim while both were St John’s Ambulance volunteers.

Mr Ismay was released from hospital after the blast on March 4 and had been making good progress however he died unexpectedly less than two weeks later when a blood clot linked to the attack triggered a heart attack.

He had worked at Hydebank Wood Young Offenders’ Centre in south Belfast, where he trained new recruits to the Prison Service.

Justice McAlinden said: “He was a decent, warm, generous, loving human being and our society is the poorer for his loss. If only there were more like him.”

The judge said Robinson searched for information on the internet about the magnetic permeability of aluminium before the device was attached to the van.

“He was intimately involved in targeting him over a lengthy period of time.

“He had checked his target’s online profile as well as the opening times of a supermarket near where he lived.”

The judge said the defendant knowingly took steps to minimise the chances of his “intimate and inextricable” involvement being uncovered by turning off his mobile phone at certain times, deleting entries from its memory and putting the sim card and battery out of reach of police.

The judge said victim impact statements from Mr Ismay’s wife and daughters were “heart-wrenching”.

“Each of these statements, in their own individual and eloquent way, brings home to me the utterly devastating impact that Mr Ismay’s death has had, not only on them but on other members of the family.”

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