Derry trio deny pipe bomb charge

Three Derry men have denied having a pipe bomb with intent to endanger life.

Eamon Cassidy (50), 47-year-old Daniel Martin Joseph Doyle and Eugene McLoone (55) appeared at Belfast Crown Court today where they also pleaded not guilty to having the improvised explosive device (IED) under suspicious cricumstances on September 26 last year.

Cassidy, from Glenfada Park in the Bogside, pleaded not guilty to two further charges of having a time delay IED with intent to endanger life and under suspicious circumstances on dates between December 31, 2010 and March 28 last year.

The alleged possession of the pipe bomb, a charge which all three men face, arose after police intercepted a car driven by McLoone on the Buncrana Road, uncovering the bomb under one of the seats, wrapped in a tracksuit top.

McLoone, from Abercorn Road, told police he had no knowledge of it and said he had stopped to give a lift to co-accused Cassidy who asked to be taken to a local parochial house. Cassidy alleged that he found the device lying on the road and did not want children to play with it, a claim disputed by police who say they had been monitoring the car for 20 minutes beforehand.

The further charges Cassidy faces relate to a 100lbs beer keg bomb left inside a stolen Vauxhall Astra car at Bishop Street car park, just across the road from the courthouse, on March 27 last year.

An earlier court hearing heard claims that Cassidy could allegedly be linked to the device - made safe after a controlled explosion - by his DNA profile which was uncovered during the investigation.

Judge Tom Burgess said the case file was with the office of the Lord Chief Justice for a decision as to whether the trial would be heard by a High Court or County Court judge, potentially in the new year.

McLoone was released on bail while Cassidy and Doyle, from Bluebellhill Gardens in the Brandywell area of the city, were remanded into custody.