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IRA bomb suspect's DNA matches blood in getaway car, court is told

By David Young, PA

Published 29/10/2015

A man has been granted bail after appearing in court charged with an IRA bomb attack on a Northern Ireland police station that was intercepted by the SAS
A man has been granted bail after appearing in court charged with an IRA bomb attack on a Northern Ireland police station that was intercepted by the SAS

A man has been granted bail after appearing in court charged with an IRA bomb attack on a Northern Ireland police station that was intercepted by the SAS.

Undercover soldiers opened fire on two men after improvised blast bombs were thrown at Coalisland's heavily-fortified RUC station in Co Tyrone in March 1997.

Paul Campbell (37) appeared at Dungannon Magistrates Court charged with causing an explosion.

Prosecutors told district judge John Meehan they intended to appeal against his decision to grant bail in the High Court in Belfast.

Campbell, who is from Coalisland, Co Tyrone, but has resided in Co Monaghan for the last four years, will be held in custody pending the outcome of that hearing on Thursday morning.

Blood spots left in a priest's car used by a suspect in an IRA bombing match the DNA of a Co Tyrone man accused of the attack, a court has heard. Mr Campbell was also treated for a gunshot wound in a hospital across the border the day after the SAS fired on two men suspected of attacking Coalisland police station, a detective told the court.

Campbell was arrested at a railway station in Portadown, Co Armagh, at the weekend - 18 years after the 1997 improvised grenade bomb bid on the RUC base.

The accused, whose address was given as The Mills, Coalisland, Co Tyrone, appeared before the court accused of causing an explosion with intent to endanger life.

Judge Meehan granted bail but his decision has been challenged by prosecutors, with the accused set to remain in custody until the matter is heard in Belfast's High Court on Thursday.

While the charge facing Campbell normally commands a maximum sentence of life imprisonment if found guilty, only two years could ever be imposed in his case, as it is covered under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement's early release arrangements.

Campbell, wearing jeans and blue checked shirt, did not speak during the hearing. He also remained seated when asked to stand.

As Campbell entered the dock, amid an armed police presence in court, he nodded to his wife and other supporters in the public gallery.

Belfast Telegraph

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