Man admits possessing mortars

Seamus McLaughlin pictured a previous court appearance in Derry.
Seamus McLaughlin pictured a previous court appearance in Derry.

A dissident republican has pleaded guilty to charges in connection with a foiled mortar bomb attack on a police station.

Seamus McLaughlin, of Eastway Gardens, had initially denied the charges but applied to be re-arraigned at a hearing in Belfast Crown Court yesterday.

The 36-year-old pleaded guilty to possessing four ‘ready to deploy’ improvised mortars and an improvised explosive incendiary device with intent to endanger life on March 3, 2013.

He also admitted possessing a Citroen Berlingo van for the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism.

A further charge of conspiracy to cause an explosion was left on the books, not to be proceeded with without the leave of the crown court or the court of appeal.

Previous court hearings were told McLaughlin was the driver of the Citroen van which was stopped on the Letterkenny Road by police.

There was a hole cut in the roof and this was covered by tape.

Four mortar tubes and four mortars, which were ready to deploy, were found in the rear of the van. A blast incendiary type device was found in the footwell of the front passenger seat.

Sentencing was adjourned by Judge David McFarland for the preparation of a probation pre-sentence report.

McLaughlin was remanded in custody and will appear in court again at a later date.

The non-jury Diplock trial of a second defendant, 37-year-old Gary McDaid, of Glenowen Park, is due to start this September. He is currently on bail charged with possessing explosives with intent to endanger life and having them in suspicious circumstances.