Nine year sentence for Derry man who ‘stored explosives’

x

x

0
Have your say

A Derry man who was a “storage man” in a flat where cops uncovered three pipe bombs and bomb making equipment was jailed for nine years today.

A Derry man who was a “storage man” in a flat where cops uncovered three pipe bombs and bomb making equipment was jailed for nine years today.

Ordering 31-year-old Anthony Thomas Friel to spend half his sentence in jail and half on supervised licence, Belfast Crown Court Judge David McFarland said the evidence clearly showed he was a “facilitator” and added that is “an important cog in the chain of these criminal and terrorist gangs”.

Earlier he had heard that covert police had been keeping a flat on Maureen Avenue under surveillance and had watched as Friel came and went.

A prosecuting lawyer told the court that when cops raided the flat on May 21 last year, they uncovered three “large” pipe bombs, timer power units and component bomb parts as well as bomb making equipment including an eye shield and visor, a mini rotary tool kit, drill bits, a heat gun, various tools and electrical material, berets, worksuits, gloves, plastic boxes, Bentley electronic timer instructions, batteries and duct tape.

He told the court that essentially the property was void of all the usual things one would find in a lived-in property such as food and furniture, adding that it was the Crown case the property was being used as a store for the potentially lethal devices.

Forensic examinations of the flat uncovered Friel’s DNA on gloves, a jacket and a cigarette butt and his fingerprints on the inside of the front door.

He was arrested later on May 21 and when he was searched, officers found the keys to the flat in his pocket.

During later interviews Friel, from Gartan Square in the Maiden City, offered no explanation for his involvement but later pleaded guilty to possessing the explosives with intent to endanger life and also possessing articles for use in terrorism under suspicious circumstances.

Defence QC Eilis McDermott said the fact that none of Friel’s DNA or fingerprints were found on the actual items themselves indicated that he was not involved in their construction but rather was just a storeman for the explosives.

Handing down the nine-year jail term, Judge McFarland said a factor to be taken into account was the prevalence of the use of pipe bombs in recent years, particularly in Derry and also that Friel had not offered any explanation as to his involvement.