A “committed dissident republican terrorist” has been jailed for 25 years after he was found guilty of planting a bomb under a police officer’s car.
Sean McVeigh, 38, of Victoria Street, Lurgan, was convicted in February of the attempted murder of the officer at his home using an under-car bomb following a non-jury Diplock trial.
The bid was foiled when the officer’s wife, who is also a serving police officer, raised the alarm at their home in the Eglinton area of Derry in the early hours of June 18, 2015.
A sentencing hearing last week was told during submissions from the prosecution and defence that McVeigh has shown no remorse, before the hearing was adjourned for a week while Judge Stephen Fowler considered what he had heard.
McVeigh reappeared in the dock at Belfast Crown Court on Friday morning to be sentenced.
Judge Stephen Fowler described McVeigh as a “committed dissident republican terrorist”.
He said the device which McVeigh had planted had “one purpose, to kill anyone unfortunate enough to be in the car” and noted that McVeigh has shown “no semblance of remorse”.
The judge said there were two potential victims, the police officer and his wife.
He said it was “entirely fortuitous” that the planting of the bomb was disrupted and that both could have been in the car, and added that given the car was parked in a residential area there could easily have been multiple deaths.
“I have no doubt this was a terrifying ordeal for both officers,” Judge Fowler said.
The judge sentenced McVeigh to 25 years in prison.
As McVeigh was led from the dock, a group of men in the public gallery raised their right arms with clenched fists.
Speaking outside court, PSNI Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell said the North is a safer place with McVeigh in custody.
“Sean McVeigh chose to attack two officers who had selflessly chosen to protect their community and keep people safe despite the ever-present threat posed by dissident republicans,” he said.
“I am thankful that despite Sean’s evil intentions, he was unable to take these people away from their families and destroy numerous lives all in the name of his warped ideology.
“Sean gave little thought to the community of Eglinton and his reckless actions could have caused devastating harm to residents living in the area if the bomb had exploded. Furthermore, the incident caused considerable disruption and upset to the local community, some of whom had to be evacuated from their homes in the middle of the night.
“Today’s success follows a rigorous investigation by detectives and I welcome the fact that Sean McVeigh is behind bars. His plan was to destroy lives and it demonstrates the ruthlessness and recklessness of those opposed to peace and who live for violence.
“Northern Ireland is a safer place with this terrorist removed from our streets.”