Belfast Telegraph

Coney brothers admit Formil Wood terror camp rap

By Ashleigh McDonald

Two brothers have pleaded guilty to terrorist charges linked to the discovery of a makeshift training camp and firing range on the outskirts of Omagh.

Terrence Aiden Coney (35) from Malabhui Road in Carrickmore and his brother Gavin Joseph Coney (36) from Gorticashel Road in Omagh were rearraigned at Belfast Crown Court on charges linked to a dissident republican camp uncovered in Formil Wood in March 2012.

Although no details were revealed at yesterday's hearing, it is the prosecution case that the terrorist training camp at Greencastle was in an advanced state of preparation for an attack by dissident republicans.

A prosecution lawyer said that the Crown was willing to accept the Co Tyrone brothers' guilty pleas to the charges, while also asking a series of other offences be allowed to 'remain on the books'.

Last week a Co Antrim man, Sean Kelly (48) from Duneane Crescent, in Toomebridge, also pleaded guilty to charges linked to the terrorist camp.

Their pleas leave 38-year-old Sharon Rafferty from Pomeroy as the only defendant to stand trial before a non-jury Diplock court later this week.

Belfast Recorder, Judge David McFarland, who released the Coney brothers on continuing bail, said he would pass sentence in the case, "when the question of Mrs Rafferty's innocence or guilt is determined".

The brothers both pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm and ammunition, namely a .22 Walther rifle and .22 ammo, in suspicious circumstances on March 30, 2012. The pair also admitted attending a place used for terrorist training on the same date, namely Formil Wood on the Gorticashel Road near Omagh.

Gavin Coney also admitted an additional charge of possessing a firearm in suspicious circumstances, namely a .22 calibre sound moderator, often referred to as a silencer.

The brothers also admitted possessing articles for use in terrorism. In Aiden Coney's case, that was four pairs of training shoes, while in Gavin's, they related to waterproof jackets and trousers, balaclavas, training shoes and gloves.

In addition they also admitted a separate charge of helping others in the preparation and setting up the improvised firing range.

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