A man who stored multiple explosive devices and a hoard of bomb-making equipment in a city centre flat has been jailed.
Anthony Thomas Friel was ordered to spend half of his nine-year sentence in jail and half on supervised licence after a judge described him as “an important cog in the chain of these criminal and terrorist gangs”.
Earlier, Belfast Crown Court had heard that covert police had been keeping a flat on Maureen Avenue in Londonderry under surveillance and had watched as 31-year-old Friel came and went.
A prosecuting lawyer told the court that when police raided the flat on May 21 last year, they uncovered three “large” pipe-bombs, timer power units and component bomb parts, as well as bomb-making equipment.
Friel was arrested later on May 21 and officers found the keys to the flat in his pocket.
During subsequent interviews, Friel, from Gartan Square in Derry, offered no explanation for his involvement, but he later pleaded guilty to possessing the explosives with intent to endanger life and also to possessing articles for use in terrorism.
Handing down the nine-year jail term, Judge David McFarland said a factor to be taken into account was the prevalence of pipe-bombs in recent years and also that Friel had not offered any explanation as to his involvement.