Belfast Telegraph

Terror-related offences man jailed

A man convicted of taking pictures of Merseyside Police headquarters for terrorism purposes and a series of other terror-related offences has been handed an eight-year sentence.

Kevin Barry Concannon, who captured the images of the building in Liverpool in October 2012, also admitted possessing a bomb-making manual.

They were all discovered on his laptop by police who raided the 41-year-old's home in Beechwood Avenue in Londonderry last summer.

The officers were conducting the searches as part of follow-up investigations into a thwarted dissident republican mortar bomb attack in the Derry area three months earlier.

The offence of collecting the images for likely use by terrorists was one of seven counts Concannon plead guilty to earlier this summer.

He also admitted two counts of possessing explosive material to enable others to make bombs; possessing blank cartridges and a firearm magazine in suspicious circumstances; possessing articles for use in terrorism - namely a deactivated sub-machine gun, a set of number plates, smoke canisters and thunder flash pyrotechnic device; and possession of documents likely to be of use to terrorists.

The last charge related to the discovery on his laptop of the "Anarchist Cookbook" - a document described in a previous hearing as a bomb-making manual.

Passing sentence in Belfast Crown Court, Belfast Recorder judge David McFarland told Concannon, who stood in the dock in a blue and white checked shirt, that the explosive charges were the most serious.

But he noted that he had been found with bomb-making material, not viable or primed bombs.

He said further work would have been needed, such as the addition of a detonator, to create an actual bomb.

The judge described him as a "storeman" for others to make "anti-personnel devices".

"It was to enable others to do it," he said.

"However your role was an important role."

He added: "Clearly when people like you become involved, essentially they are quarantining other individuals from materials. They do not risk detention or prosecution because they are not connected to it.

"Essentially it's the role of a store person or storeman."

Judge McFarland said he had taken Concannon's otherwise clear record, guilty plea and health issues into account in mitigation.

He said he had also factored in his family circumstances. The judge said Concannon's wife, with whom he has a two-year-old daughter, was an American citizen who was originally detained after the searches but not prosecuted.

While he stressed she had played no part in her husband's offending and had "just been caught up" in the series of events, he said she was now encountering difficulties in the process of naturalisation to reside in Northern Ireland.

He said that if she returned to the US, Concannon would then encounter visa issues if he followed her due to his convictions.

The judge said considering all the factors and circumstances in the case the appropriate sentence was eight years, four years of which will be spent in custody.

The break-down of the sentence comprised concurrent terms of eight years for the explosive counts, three years for the possession in suspicious circumstances counts and two years for the possession of the images of the police station, bomb-making manual and other articles such as the smoke canister and thunder flash.

Concannon glanced briefly at supporters in the public dock as the judge ordered him to be taken down.

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