Belfast Telegraph

Pair deny they were trying to kill trainee PSNI officer

BY MICHAEL DONNELLY

A former Irish soldier accused of attempting to murder a student policeman four years ago has pleaded guilty to using a gun to resist arrest.

However, ex-soldier Gerard James McManus and Kevin Barry Nolan, who both come from the Republic, deny trying to murder the student PSNI officer in the border town of Garrison, or possessing a gun with intent to endanger life on November 21, 2009.

Nolan (35), of Main Street, Blacklion, and 28-year-old McManus, from Fernhill, Letterkenny, who were detained during an undercover police operation at the time, will go on trial at Belfast Crown Court in the new year.

Although no details surrounding the shooting or their arrests were given to the Crown Court, during a series of Magistrates Courts sittings, it was revealed that McManus and Nolan claimed they had no intention of shooting the trainee officer, only to scare him.

They were allegedly spotted in a Vauxhall Astra approaching his home before police moved in.

McManus, wearing a balaclava, allegedly went to the front door, while Nolan remained in the front passenger seat of the car, where he was later arrested, allegedly sitting on a magazine loaded with 16 rounds for a Glock pistol.

McManus escaped, running down the side of the house firing off a shot.

He was apprehended at 8am the following day in a garden shed and while a mask and gloves were found in the shed, no gun was recovered. During interviews, both men maintained they had no intention of harming the student police officer.

McManus told detectives: "There was no way I was going to shoot him.... I was going to fire a couple of shots in the air... to scare him, I wanted to terrify him like."

In his interviews Nolan, whose alleged role was to give McManus directions, claimed that as far as he was concerned: "No harm was going to be caused," and that firing the gun was to "put the frighteners on him".

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