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Keith McClenaghan was jailed for a series of hoax bomb alerts

Keith McClenaghan was jailed for a series of hoax bomb alerts

Keith McClenaghan was jailed for a series of hoax bomb alerts

A man who phoned the police and told them he had just planted two explosive devices - one of them outside the home of a councillor - has been jailed for two and a half years.

Not only did Keith McClenaghan (41) from Moss Park in Londonderry phone the PSNI, but he went to Strand Road Police Station, identified himself to officers, and told them: "I wouldn't pick them up so I wouldn't."

Derry Crown Court heard McClenaghan admitted leaving the devices outside the front doors of independent republican councillor Gary Donnelly's home in the Creggan area and a friend of Mr Donnelly's in the Ballymagroarty area in the early hours of Easter Sunday on April 21, 2019.

Both devices were described as "viable improvised explosive devices" by a staff sergeant in the Army's bomb disposal unit. But he added that neither device had a detonator.

McClenaghan told the police he researched on the internet how to purchase the ingredients and how to construct two pipe bombs using metal flasks.

His barrister, Ciaran Mallon, told Judge Philip Babington that it was a most peculiar case of its type in that "very rarely - if ever - do those who plant hoax bombs then ring the police, advise them of their name and address and within minutes attend the police station to confirm their identity.

"It is the most peculiar and unusual case of its type but we are mindful of the disruption it caused to the local community."

As the result of McClenaghan's actions, the police had mounted two large-scale evacuation of residents from the Creggan and Ballymagroarty areas, some of them elderly and with mobility issues, and ambulances were put on standby.

Judge Babington said: "Although they were both hoax devices, he said they contained enough viable explosive fill, but the person involved had enough knowledge to leave out of the devices the means to initiate the explosives."

He said it was clear that McClenaghan had decided, for whatever reason, to take matters into his own hands rather than let the police address his grievances.

"He know acknowledges that his behaviour was both inappropriate and disproportionate," the judge said.

Following his release from prison McClenaghan will be on probation for 18 months.

Belfast Telegraph


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