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Former DUP council candidate sentenced to eight years for pipe-bomb attack on Polish neighbours

John Smyth Junior

A former DUP council candidate has been sentenced to eight years for his part in a "naked sectarian" pipe-bomb attack on one of his Catholic Polish neighbours.

Judge Desmond Marrinan told 32-year-old John Smyth Jr that the planting of the bomb was a "despicable and cowardly act" and while it can't be proved he personally left it, "he facilitated the making of the bomb in his own premises with the full knowledge of the evil purposes of the bombers".

Judge Marrinan, who noted Smyth Jr told police that when not on a sickie from work, "I annoy Poles", ordered that he serve three years in jail to be followed by five years supervised licenced parole on the condition he receives continued treatment for his mental problems.

Smyth Jr, now with an address in Rockfield Heights, Connor in Ballymena, admitted involvement in the making of the pipe-bomb which was found on the windowsill of the Polish couple's Steeple estate Seacash Drive home in Antrim on October 12 2011.

It was claimed by the so-called South East Antrim Real UFF, and Smyth's involvement came less than six months after failing to become a DUP councillor. His father, Smyth Snr, jailed in the late 1970s for UVF activities, was a DUP councillor on the local Antrim Borough Council for over a decade.

Judge Marrinan told Smyth Jr, whose election pledge for Antrim was making it a “better place for everyone to live”, that while his responsibility was less than that of the actual bombers, their "sinister objective, to endanger life or cause serious injury to property" was motivated by "naked sectarianism".

However, Judge Marrinan said there were a number of highly unusual mitigating factors which could be taken in favour on behalf of Smyth Jr, who has since expressed "genuine regret and remorse"  and now describes that "what was done to this innocent young Polish couple was disgusting".

Defence QC Peter Irvine had told the court that a suicidal Smyth was in a fragile and very vulnerable state of mind, quite clearly seen from medical reports indicating that the adverse affect markedly reduced his resilience and compromised his thought processes.

Belfast Telegraph