Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

Man who planted explosives on pregnant Irish fiancee seeks release

A man jailed for 45 years after plotting to use his unwitting Irish fiancee to blow up a plane has brought a legal challenge to secure his release.

Nezar Hindawi is serving what is believed to be the longest specific jail term imposed by a court in England.

He was sentenced in 1986 for attempting to blow up an Israeli airliner flying from Heathrow to Tel Aviv with 375 on board.

He hid explosives in the luggage of Anne Mary Murphy (32), a chambermaid from Dublin, without her knowing.

Ms Murphy, to whom he had proposed just weeks before, was pregnant with their child.

Hindawi has now brought a case to the High Court in London, challenging the British Government's refusal to accept a parole board's recommendation to release him.

His counsel said yesterday that the government's decision was irrational and unlawful. He said that the secretary of state had been "implacably opposed" to Hindawi's release throughout the parole process.

"The key issue is to what extent is the secretary of state entirely free to form his own view without in effect giving any weight at all to the views of the parole board," Tim Owen QC said.

"His approach in reality is that he is entirely free to ignore the board and can reach his own view, despite the fact there was a four-day oral hearing and that he is not an appropriate decision-maker and lacks the expertise and independence which the parole board has."

Hindawi, who was born in Jordan, won the right to a parole hearing after a long legal battle. The current contested hearing is expected to finish today.

His release date falls in May 2016 but he became eligible for parole, after serving one third of his sentence, in April 2001.

The Home Secretary refused to allow his early release in April 2003.

Ms Murphy subsequently had a daughter and is understood to be living in Dublin. She attended her former fiance's trial in 1986, soon after giving birth.

In what the prosecution described as "one of the most callous acts of all time," it was outlined how Hindawi had befriended and ultimately proposed marriage to Ms Murphy.

He bought her a ticket to Tel Aviv shortly after she accepted his proposal, but told her that due to work commitments he'd have to fly in later for their wedding in the Holy Land.

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