Belfast Telegraph

Man is jailed for having explosive not seen before in Northern Ireland

By John Cassidy

A man with the "intellectual ability of a 12-year-old'' has been sentenced to six years after police found a haul of high-powered explosives never seen before in Northern Ireland.

Father-of-two Niall Lehd (25), of Seahill Road, Larne, pleaded guilty in May to possession of explosives with intent to endanger life and having a firearm or ammunition in suspicious circumstances.

Prosecution counsel Ciaran Murphy QC told told Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland that on February 28, 2013, police officers went to Britannia Crescent, Larne, after a suspicious item was found.

"When police arrived they saw a dark-coloured rucksack-type bag lying on the front doorstep," said Mr Murphy QC. "The top of the bag was open and police could see what appeared to be a pipe-bomb and a firearm in the bag.

"The main bulk of the primary explosive recovered was DDNP (Diazodinitrophenol) and Picric acid which were subsequently destroyed due to the sensitive composition of the materials," he said.

"This is the first time DDNP has been recovered in Northern Ireland.''

Mr Murphy told Belfast Crown Court: "The defendant was interviewed and freely admitted that the items were his but on the final interview he claimed that he had been forced to store these items on behalf of an unknown person."

Defence counsel Paddy Little QC said Lehd was an "impressionable man" who has the "intellectual ability of a 12-year-old''.

He added: "He is well-known by neighbours who have described him as 'a nuisance and a fool'.

"Prison has been a learning curve for him and he will not appear back in court for these type of offences or any other type of offences,'' Mr Little said.

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