DNA links man shot in Coalisland to RUC station bomb, court told
Blood and DNA samples recovered after a bomb attack on Coalisland RUC station matched that of a man who was shot at the scene by an undercover soldier, a court heard yesterday.
The disclosure was made during an agreed statement of facts signed by the prosecution and defence which was submitted to the Diplock-style non-jury trial of Paul Campbell.
The 41-year-old, of The Mills, Coalisland, Co Tyrone, has been charged with causing an explosion likely to endanger life, and possessing an improvised explosive device with intent to endanger life, on March 26, 1997. Campbell, who was 19 at the time of the attack, has denied both offences at his trial which is being heard by Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland.
The prosecution claim that Campbell was one of two men who launched the attack, that he was shot by undercover military operative 'Soldier A' as he fled from the scene, and that he jumped into a priest's car that was parked nearby.
A co-accused, Gareth Doris, who was also shot in the aftermath of the bomb attack, was later convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Reading the agreed statement of facts into the court record, a senior prosecution QC said that on March 26, 1997, Campbell was living with his parents in Coalisland and was working as a machine fitter.
Campbell accepted that he was in Lineside Quay in the village and subsequently got into a Toyota Carina car owned by a priest on the evening of the explosion.
That car then drove away from the scene and the vehicle later stopped and Campbell got out.
"The defendant was treated at Louth County Hospital for a gunshot wound," said Crown Counsel.
"He gave a false name and a false account to hospital staff of what happened to him."
The Belfast Recorder heard that Campbell was subsequently arrested by gardai and taken to a police station for interview.
Campbell was subsequently released, said the prosecutor, and "remained in the Republic of Ireland for several years".
The defendant, the court heard, was arrested by a detective, known as 'Officer A', who was attached to the PSNI's Crime Operations Department.
In his statement read to the court, 'Officer A' said he detained Campbell at Portadown train station on October 2015. He handcuffed the suspect and took him to Musgrave PSNI station for questioning. Two mobile phones were also seized from Campbell.
The court was told that at the time of the original police investigation in March 1997, a forensic scientist had taken samples of blood staining from the rear of the priest's Carina car.
The scientist said he examined this blood sample against a sample taken from the injured Gareth Doris but ruled Mr Doris out as the source of the staining.
Another forensic scientist, the court was told, took a buccal swab from the blood sample "which gave a full DNA profile to that of Paul Campbell".
It was the scientist's view that it was a one-in-a-billion chance that the DNA belonged to a "random individual person other than Mr Campbell".