Dissident handled £10,000 stolen in machete hold-up
A leading dissident republican has pleaded guilty to handling £10,000 in cash following the robbery of a cash-in-transit guard.
Convicted bomber and alleged Real IRA leader Terence McCafferty (45), of Carlisle Road, Belfast, appeared in the dock at the city's Crown Court alongside co-accused George Martin Daniel McGrady (53), from Swanston Drive, Newtownabbey.
Both pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods, specifically the contents of a cash box taken at knifepoint from a Group Four Solutions guard in February last year.
Prosecution lawyer Robin Steer told the court that the guilty pleas were acceptable.
Judge Philpott QC ordered pre-sentence reports and adjourned sentencing until next month.
McCafferty was remanded back into custody, while McGrady was released on continuing bail pending sentencing.
No further details about the nature of the charges were given in court yesterday.
However, during a High Court bail application in July 2013 by McCafferty, a prosecution lawyer claimed the G4S guard was ordered to hand over a cash box containing the money by a man brandishing a samurai sword or machete-type knife outside an off-licence on the Oldpark Road.
He alleged that police then tracked two men in a car to a barn off the Crumlin Road.
The High Court judge was told that McCafferty and McGrady were arrested after coming out of the property 25 minutes later.
The prosecution lawyer claimed that police found large quantities of cash in mixed denominations, a basin of red liquid, gloves, irons and a machete inside the barn. There was also a strong smell of chemicals, it was alleged.
The lawyer told the court: "Police described the scene as a production plant for washing and ironing bank notes.
"It was clear the efforts were made to wash dye and smart water from the notes and dry them with the irons.''
A defence lawyer told the High Court that police no longer suspect McCafferty was the robber armed with the sword or knife.
"He has gone from of being at the forefront of this robbery right down to somebody at the tail end of the operation,'' he added.
Story so far
Last month Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers applied for a partially secret court hearing to prevent Terence McCafferty from discovering on what grounds he was returned to prison.
McCafferty was jailed for 12 years in 2005 after he was convicted of leaving a bomb outside a vehicle licensing office in Belfast city centre.
He was released on licence in November 2008, but then arrested again just a few weeks later.