Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Lennon accused switches solicitor

Neil Lennon

A man accused of conspiring to murder Celtic manager Neil Lennon and high-profile supporters of the club has told a court he wants a different solicitor to represent him.

Trevor Muirhead, 43, and Neil McKenzie, 42, are accused of plotting to kill Lennon, former MSP Trish Godman and lawyer Paul McBride QC, as well as various people in the premises of Cairde Na Heireann in Glasgow, by sending improvised explosive devices to them.

The pair denied all charges against them when they appeared at Glasgow High Court last month and a trial was set for November.

Donald Findlay QC, representing McKenzie, said his client now wanted to instruct solicitor Matthew Berlow to represent him instead of Brian McCluskey. The case was continued until next week to allow time to sort out the legal aid.

McKenzie, from Saltcoats in Ayrshire, and Muirhead, from Kilwinning, are accused of sending Lennon a package they allegedly believed was an improvised explosive device, capable of igniting and exploding, causing severe injury and death to another person.

It is alleged that the package, sent to the former Northern Ireland international Lennon at Celtic FC's training centre in Lennoxtown, contained a plastic bottle containing the substance tri-acetone tri-peroxide with a wire attached and a plastic bag containing a bag of nails and a watch component.

The pair are also charged with sending similar devices to Ms Godman, at an address in Bridge of Weir, and to Cairde Na Heireann in Glasgow. It is alleged the package sent to Mr McBride at Advocates' Library, Parliament House, Edinburgh, comprised a plastic bottle containing petrol, with wire attached, a plastic glove, nails and a watch component.

They are charged with sending the devices with the intention that the contents would ignite and explode when opened, causing severe injury and death to the recipients. It is also alleged the pair bought nails, envelopes, travel bottles and digital sports watches at two shops in Stevenston, Ayrshire, and induced another man to buy cream peroxide.

They face an alternative charge that they conspired to cause an explosion "likely to endanger life or cause serious injury to property". They are accused of sending packages to Lennon, Ms Godman, Mr McBride and Cairde Na Heireann intending to cause such an explosion, in breach of the Explosive Substances Act 1883. The offence was allegedly aggravated by religious prejudice.

The pair also face four further charges which include attempting to defeat the ends of justice and sending an item by post to Lennon at Celtic Park on March 3 or 4, intending him to think it was likely to "explode or ignite".

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