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Bomb accused ‘offered undertaker job’

A man accused over a loyalist pipe-bomb attack seven years ago was refused bail after a judge warned of a potential plot to pervert the course of justice.

Raymond Burns (32) had sought release on the basis that he had a job offer with a funeral director bidding to win a contract for the removal of bodies from hospitals.

But inquiries revealed in the High Court appeared to cast major doubt over whether any tender for the work had been submitted.

Mr Justice Treacy said: “This is not the first time in which the bail court has encountered claims which turn out to be false.”

The judge, who had ordered the undertaker to attend court, added: “If what has emerged from the police investigation is proved, it is capable of amounting to, among other things, in my view, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.”

Burns, of Ballyvessey Court, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, denies charges linked to an alleged attempt to stop a doorman from testifying about a brutal assault he was subjected to.

He is accused of membership of the Ulster Volunteer Force at the time, conspiracy to intimidate Trevor Gowdy, possessing explosives and causing an explosion. The case against him relates to a pipe-bombing in 2003 at the home in Larne, Co Antrim, of Mr Gowdy's then girlfriend.

It was carried out as the bouncer was due to testify about an attack on him outside a Newtownabbey social club the previous year.

Four men have so far been charged in connection with the pipe-bombing as part of an ongoing probe into UVF crime in north Belfast.

Evidence was supplied by Robert Stewart, a one-time ‘commander’ in the organisation who, with his brother David, turned so-called supergrass.

The pair have since been ordered to serve at least three years in jail after confessing to dozens of terrorist offences.

The court heard how the target house was identified before a pipe- bomb was placed on a window sill, only to roll off and detonate at ground level. No one was injured.

Although Burns was ordered to remain in custody, one of his co-accused was granted bail after his father offered a £20,000 cash surety.

William Young (41), of Silvio Street, Belfast, denies conspiracy to cause an explosion, conspiracy to intimidate a witness and UVF membership.

Belfast Telegraph