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Duo suspected in dissident bomb plot sent for trial over PSNI seizure of explosive device

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Sean Ruddy waves to family members as he is led into Lisburn court yesterday

Sean Ruddy waves to family members as he is led into Lisburn court yesterday

Sean Ruddy waves to family members as he is led into Lisburn court yesterday

Two alleged would-be bombers - suspected of being on "active duty" - have been sent for trial accused of having explosives.

Standing side by side in the dock of Lisburn Magistrates Court, Sean Ruddy (39) and Sean Megaw (26) indicated they were not objecting to the preliminary enquiry committing them to the Crown Court for trial.

Ruddy, from Burren Meadow in Newcastle, and Megaw, from Mount Eagles Square in Dunmurry, are each charged with having an improvised pipe-bomb, four lengths of modified pipe and a steel bolt with intent to endanger life and under suspicious circumstances on January 31 this year.

During an earlier court appearance, a police officer said "we cannot rule out at this stage that they are part of a dissident (republican) organisation and were on active duty when arrested", outlining how at around 9.30pm that Friday police saw a Nissan Qashqai drive into and park in White Rise in Dunmurry. While police were speaking to Megaw at the car, they saw Ruddy coming from a nearby property.

"He was asked to stop but seemed startled and ran," said the officer, adding that officers saw Ruddy "take a black bag from his coat and throw it over the hedge" where it made a "metallic sound".

Ruddy was stopped a short distance away and allegedly told police "that there was a pipe-bomb in the car."

Although a search of the vehicle proved negative, a "viable pipe-bomb device" was found around seven feet from the vehicle and the officer contended that while officers were talking to Ruddy, Megaw threw the bomb away.

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Inside the bag allegedly discarded by Ruddy, officers uncovered "four pipes of various lengths, engineered component parts for pipe-bombs", claimed the officer, revealing that Megaw is currently on licence for having a gun with intent to endanger life.

In February 2012 Megaw was jailed for five years. A judge ordered him to serve two years behind bars and three on supervised licence after he admitted having a stolen semi-automatic pistol on which his DNA profile was found.

That gun, which was stolen by masked men claiming to be from the IRA, was later used in a dissident republican punishment shooting.

Yesterday Ruddy and Megaw both declined the either give evidence themselves or call witnesses on their behalves, while a prosecuting lawyer submitted there was a prima facie case against them.

District Judge Rosemary Watters said she was satisfied the pair had a case to answer and returning them to Craigavon Crown Court for trial, remanded them back into custody until their arraignment on December 2.


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