A police officer told a court in Derry yesterday that a 1.5 kilo bomb concealed inside a fire extinguisher was primed to explode during a PSNI recruitment meeting in a hotel in the Waterside area of the city eight weeks ago.
The officer made the disclosure when two men, both of them from Co Meath, appeared before the city's Magistrates Court charged with preparing an act of terrorism by placing an improvised explosive device (IED) in undergrowth beside the Waterfoot Hotel on October 6.
The defendants, Darren Poleon (41), a cavity wall insulator from Lightown, Drumbaragh in Kells, and Brian Walsh (34), from Dunshaughlin, are also jointly charged with possessing the IED with intent to cause an explosion and with conspiring to cause an explosion with an IED on October 6, 2015.
A detective constable from the PSNI's serious crime branch told District Judge Barney McElholm that both defendants were arrested in Omagh on Wednesday when they arrived at the town's police station to answer their bail for other alleged criminal matters.
He said an examination of the sat nav system in Poleon's Ford Focus car showed that the vehicle had been driven from Kells on the afternoon of October 6, arriving in Derry at 8pm.
The officer said that on October 9 the police found the IED in undergrowth beside the Waterfoot Hotel car park.
"The police believe the defendant Poleon, who had booked a reservation to stay in the hotel on the night of October 9, was to return to the hotel then and take the IED from the undergrowth and place it in the hotel, where it was primed to explode during the recruitment event", he said.
Both defendants were remanded in custody until December 31 for a video-link hearing.