Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Man held in bomb swoop faces fake gun charges

A 53-year-old man from Londonderry has appeared in court charged with offences in the wake of a bomb attack on a police station.

Thomas Christopher Nash, a car breaker from Iveagh Park in Prehen, was charged with possessing a .22 rifle and 140 rounds of ammunition at the city’s magistrates’ court.

He was also charged with possessing an imitation AK-47 assault rifle and an imitation P228 pistol and CS spray without the authority of the Secretary of State.

All of the offences, which the defendant denies, are alleged to have occurred on August 9, six days after the bomb explosion.

Last week Philip O'Donnell (42), from Baldrick Crescent in Derry, was remanded in custody when he appeared in court charged with carrying out the bomb attack.

A detective chief inspector from the PSNI's Major Investigation Team told District Judge Barney McElholm that the defendant Nash was arrested in relation to the bombing.

He said that police officers searched the defendant's marital home as well as a second address where he lived.

“In the marital address police found the butt of an AK47 assault rifle hidden in the drawer of a bedroom cupboard. At the second address where he lived officers found a .22 rifle, ammunition, a silencer, a sighting scope, three balaclavas and a pair of gloves.

“We also searched a pillar to the rear of the house. The pillar had a lid cemented onto it and when the lid was removed officers found a replica AK47 assault rifle from which the butt had been removed”, he said.

Opposing bail, the police witness said the defendant was arrested under terrorist legislation and was suspected of being a member of a proscribed organisation. He said he believed that the defendant would re-offend.

He also believed that the defendant would abscond and interfere with witnesses.

Refusing bail, the District Judge said: “We all know the terrorist situation in this country is escalating and shows no sign of improving and society must protect itself against those who seek to harm it.”

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