Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Former DUP man jailed over racist pipe-bomb attack

Pipe bomber John Smyth Junior
Pipe bomber John Smyth Junior

A would-be DUP councillor who admitted being involved in a racist pipe-bomb attack on his Polish neighbours, has been kicked out of the Orange Order.

John Smyth (32) was yesterday jailed for three years after confessing to making explosives with intent to endanger life.

The device, which was defused, was left on the windowsill of the home of the couple at Seacash Drive in Antrim in October 2011 – five months after Smyth tried to win a seat on the local council.

In his election propaganda, Smyth (below) pledged to "work closely within the community" and make the town "a better place for everyone".

He failed to win a seat after polling just 381 votes.

Smyth was suspended from the DUP after being charged with the attack and has since left the party.

He was also a member of Clotworthy Orange lodge, but has now been expelled.

Smyth, from Rockfield Heights in Connor, near Ballymena, admitted supplying materials and allowing his home to be used to build the bomb. The Real UFF purportedly claimed responsibility for the device.

Smyth initially denied any involvement in the attack. The court heard that months earlier, Smyth himself was the target of a mysterious pipe-bomb attack. A device was also left at his parents' house.

Sentencing Smyth yesterday, judge Desmond Marrinan said the pipe bomb had been a "despicable and cowardly act".

While accepting his claims that he had not actually planted the bomb, the judge told Smyth that his behaviour was motivated by "naked sectarianism".

The judge noted that Smyth had expressed "genuine regret and remorse" and was "disgusted" by his own actions.

Judge Marrinan referred to Smyth's recent troubles, which also included depression and alleged intimidation.

He ordered that Smyth serve three years in jail to be followed by five years supervised licensed parole.

His father was jailed in the 1970s for UVF activities, and was a DUP councillor on Antrim council for more than a decade.

Background

John Smyth was the victim of a mysterious pipe-bombing incident in March 2011. He recalled how he was lucky to escape after a device was thrown through his bedroom window. "If I had been in bed, I would be dead now, no question," he said at the time. He was flanked by DUP leader Peter Robinson, who expressed his anger at the "outrageous attack".

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