Old Bailey bomber Marian Price guilty of providing phone used to claim the murders at Massereene Army Barracks
Old Bailey bomber Marian Price has pleaded guilty to providing a mobile phone linked to a Real IRA attack in which two soldiers were murdered.
Sappers Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar were killed in the attack at Massereene Army barracks in Antrim in 2009 as they collected pizzas, just hours before they were due to be deployed to Afghanistan.
The 59-year old veteran republican also entered a guilty plea to the charge of aiding and abetting the addressing of a meeting to encourage support for terrorism.
The charge related to a separate incident at a republican Easter commemoration in Londonderry in April 2011 where Price was photographed holding up a statement for a masked man. Price, from Stockman's Avenue in west Belfast, was released on continuing bail, to be sentenced next month. Belfast Crown Court Judge Gordon Kerr QC told Price that the fact she was being released was no indication of how she would eventually be dealt with.
Price's trial, which began on Monday, heard that she had links to "dissident republican activity" and must have known that the mobile she bought was to be used to make the call claiming the attack on the Co Antrim base.
Prosecutor Tessa Kitson told the court that the day after the Massereene attack, a man contacted media outlets claiming responsibility for it on behalf of the Real IRA.
Ms Kitson said that on March 8, 2009, a woman was caught on CCTV purchasing the pay-as-you-go mobile from the Tesco store in Newtownabbey. She said it was the Crown's case that the woman was Price.
Price was questioned about the purchase of the phone but "declined to make any comment in relation to these circumstances and she didn't identify the person or persons to whom she must have passed this telephone to".
Price had been released early from prison on licence in 1980, but it was revoked in May 2011 on the direction of the then Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson, shortly after the Derry rally.
The SDLP had campaigned for her release, arguing that her licence had been revoked on the basis of intelligence rather than evidence that would be admissible in court.
Yesterday, unionists called on those who worked towards the release of Price to apologise and "admit they were wrong".
DUP South Antrim MLA William McCrea said the SDLP needed "to find its moral compass".
"This plea leaves the SDLP and other organisations that campaigned for her release hanging out to dry," he said.
"Now the SDLP and others owe an apology to those they criticised and attacked, who acted rightly in the interests of public safety. It is time for the SDLP to find its moral compass again."
Ulster Unionist MLA Danny Kinahan added: "I trust now that those who were crying the loudest about the 'injustice' of her having her licence revoked will have the good grace to apologise and admit they were wrong."
However, SDLP justice spokesman Alban Maginness insisted his party position was "right at the time", adding it would repeat it in similar circumstances.
Belfast Telegraph Digital