Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 April 2014

Suspected dissident duo caught red-handed with bomb, court told

Sean Ruddy waves to family members outside Lisburn Court
Sean Ruddy waves to family members outside Lisburn Court

Two alleged dissident republicans arrested on "active duty" have been remanded in custody after being charged with having a pipe-bomb.

Both Sean Ruddy (38) and 25-year-old Sean Megaw refused to stand when they appeared in the dock of Lisburn Magistrates Court for the single charge of possessing explosives to be put to them yesterday.

The pair were arrested in connection with the discovery of a pipe-bomb which led to around 100 people being evacuated from their homes in the Lagmore area of west Belfast last week.

Ruddy, from Burren Meadow in Newcastle, and Megaw, from Mount Eagles Square in Dunmurry, are charged with having a pipe-bomb and component parts for pipe-bombs on January 31.

A detective constable told the court she believed she could connect them to the charge and that police were objecting to bail amid fears that they would reoffend.

"We cannot rule out at this stage they are part of a dissident (republican) organisation and were on active duty when arrested," said the officer.

She told the court that at around 9.30pm on Friday police saw a Nissan Qashqai drive in and park at White Rise in Dunmurry, adding that while police were speaking to Megaw at the car, they saw Ruddy coming from a property.

"He was asked to stop but seemed startled and ran," said the policewoman.

She added that officers saw Ruddy "take a black bag from his coat and throw it over the hedge" where it made a "metallic sound".

Ruddy was stopped a short distance away and allegedly told police "that there was a pipe-bomb in the car".

Although a search of the Nissan car found nothing, a "viable pipe-bomb device" was found around seven feet from the vehicle and the officer contended that while officers were talking to Ruddy, Megaw threw the bomb away.

Inside the bag allegedly discarded by Ruddy, officers uncovered "four pipes of various lengths, engineered component parts for pipe-bombs", said the officer.

She added that police were also objecting to bail "to protect the public".

She revealed that Megaw is currently on licence for having a gun with intent to endanger life.

In February 2012 Megaw was ordered to serve two years behind bars and three on supervised licence after he admitted having a stolen semi-automatic pistol on which his DNA profile was found.

That gun, which was stolen during an aggravated burglary by masked men claiming to be from the IRA, was later used in a dissident republican punishment shooting in Twinbrook in May 2011.

Yesterday the officer agreed that neither man had been questioned about membership of any dissident republican organisation and that, at the moment, there is no forensic evidence linking the men to the items.

She added that the bomb and component parts were being sent for forensic tests.

Ruddy's solicitor said that he "completely refutes" making any admissions to police at the scene, while Megaw's solicitor submitted he had gotten a lift from Ruddy who owned the car and knew nothing of explosive devices.

Refusing the bail applications and remanding the men into custody to appear again via video-link on March 3, District Judge Rosemary Watters said she was "concerned about the commission of further offences".

As the pair were led to the prison van outside the court, Ruddy waved and blew kisses to his relatives.

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