Belfast Telegraph

Three people arrested over attempted murder of top PSNI officer

The bomb under the officer’s car
The bomb under the officer’s car

Detectives investigating the attempted murder of a police officer when a bomb was found under his car at an east Belfast golf club have arrested three people.

It is understood the device was planted by members of the so-called New IRA outside the senior officer's home but was only spotted at Shandon Park Golf Club on Saturday June 1.

One woman aged 22 and two men aged 21 and 50 were arrested during a planned operation on Tuesday.

The 50-year-old has since been released and the other two are currently being questioned by detectives at Musgrave Serious Crime Suite.

Police said that during the search operation officers seized a quantity of cash, electronic devices and suspected class A and class B drugs.

Detective Inspector Anthony Kelly said: “It is very fortunate that this device was detected before it exploded and that no one was killed or seriously injured. 

"It was clearly intended to kill the police officer. But in placing this explosive device, the terrorists also put the lives of the officer’s family, neighbours and members of the public at serious risk.

"Anyone who places an explosive device under a car in a built up area after transporting it through local residential streets cares little about our communities. In stark contrast they only care about themselves and their own selfish desires.

"Their violence is simply reckless and they cannot be allowed to continue to put communities in harm’s way.

"Thankfully the violent dissident republicans’ plan did not work but it does clearly demonstrate that they don't care who they attack or kill in the process."

Police appealed for information from anyone who saw two vehicles - a green coloured Skoda Octavia, registration 01D 78089, and a silver coloured SAAB 95, registration NFZ 3216, which it is believed were used to plant the bomb under the officer’s car.

Detectives know the Skoda travelled on the M1 from Lurgan direction towards Belfast after 10pm on Friday 31st May. 

The two cars come into east Belfast at 12.08am. After this, the SAAB disappears for over an hour. The Skoda continues its journey along the Newtownards Road before disappearing around 12.18am.

Both cars travelled along the Newtownards Road at the same time towards the officer’s house in east Belfast at 1.26am.

CCTV footage shown by Detective Superintendent Sean Wright in relation to the attempted bomb attack at Shandon Golf Club

Officers believe this is when the bomb was planted. The two cars travelled back along the Newtownards Road at 1.33am fleeing the scene.

At 1.50am the two cars were set on fire on Etna Drive in north Belfast.

Police investigations indicate the cars remained in east Belfast, in and around Lower Newtownards Road, Mersey Street, Sydenham, Short Strand, Albertsbridge Road and Beersbridge Road between 12.10am until 1.25am.

Police have appealed for anyone who saw these cars during this period to get in touch.

Anyone with information should contact police on 101. Information can also be passed anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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