A prison officer who was injured in a dissident republican bomb attack in Northern Ireland has died after suffering a heart attack 11 days after a device was exploded under his van. Adrian Ismay was seriously hurt on 4 March after a booby-trap device was detonated under his van in Belfast on 4 March.
The father-of-three, of Hillsborough Drive, Belfast, was discharged from hospital just a week ago with The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) saying that his injuries were not as bad as first thought.
However, the 52-year-old was rushed to hospital on 15 March but died soon afterwards. A post mortem examination will be conducted on 16 March and depending on the results, police will decide if his death would be treated as murder.
The dissident republican organisation known as the new IRA has claimed responsibility for the attack. It said it was targeting training officers working at the Maghaberry Prison near Lisburn, County Antrim.
One man has been charged with possessing an improvised explosive device with intent to endanger life following the shocking attack. Christopher Alphonsos Robinson, 45, of Aspen Park in Dunmurry, County Antrim, appeared at Belfast Magistrates' Court on 12 March.
Robinson was also charged with the attempted murder of Ismay – which may now be upgraded to murder. He is set to appear again at the same court on 1 April via video-link after being remanded in custody.
Speaking at a press facility today at PSNI Headquarters, the Senior Investigating Officer Detective Chief Inspector Richard Campbell said: "Today is one of profound sadness. Adrian Ismay was the father of three grown up daughters and had over 28 years service with the Prison Service.
"Our deepest sympathy is with his family, friends and colleagues at this sad time. At this stage, we are working to establish the exact cause of Adrian's death.
"Adrian's profession was simply to keep people safe and we will do everything possible to bring those responsible to justice. One man has been charged with attempted murder and causing an explosion with intent to endanger life and the investigation is continuing.
"This was a completely senseless attack which only serves to demonstrate the ruthlessness and recklessness of those opposed to peace and who live for violence."
Detectives have appealed for information on two cars that police believe may have been used by the bombers. They include a red Citroen C3 which is believed to have been used by those planting the device in the early hours of Friday 4 March.
And a silver Skoda Fabia which is believed to have been used before and after the incident by those involved. The car was seen in the Pilot Street in the Docks area of Belfast. Anyone who may have any information should contact the PSNI on the non-emergency number 101 or on Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.