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Loyalist items found in Neil Lennon bomb plot accused's house

By Cordelia O'Neill

Items recovered from the house of a man accused of plotting to kill Celtic manager Neil Lennon by sending improvised explosive devices through the post suggested the occupants had "obvious Loyalist sympathies", a court heard today.

The jury at the High Court in Glasgow has been shown various items recovered from Trevor Muirhead's house in Kilwinning, Ayrshire, following his arrest in May last year.

The 43-year-old is on trial along with Neil McKenzie, 42, accused of conspiracy to murder Lennon and two other high-profile supporters of the club - the late Paul McBride QC and former MSP Trish Godman - in a parcel bomb plot.

They deny the charges against them.

Items recovered from Muirhead's home in a dawn search included Red Hand of Ulster flags and a commemorative picture with the initials UVF on it.

The court was also shown an Oath of Allegiance: to the Scottish Unionist Association, dating from September 2009.

The jury was told it read: "I, Trevor Muirhead, am a Protestant by birth and being convinced of a fiendish plot by Republicans to destroy my heritage, swear to defend my comrades and my country by any and all means against Republicans and Republican offshoots that may be of similar intent."

The document was apparently signed by a "John Knox" and a "William Boyne".

Gordon Jackson QC, who is defending Muirhead, likened the pictures shown to the court to TV show Through The Keyhole.

He said: "The idea was to take lots of pictures of a house then work out what sort of person lived in that house.

"It would seem that there were people who lived in that house of Loyalist sympathies.

"They obviously had sympathies on one side of the divide."

He went on to say that one room in particular - a bedroom where three Unionist-type flags were hanging and the commemorative picture was found - was "obviously a bedroom of someone who is extremely supportive of the Loyalist side of things".

He added that the banners and posters were the type of thing that might be seen "on the Orange walk".

Mr Jackson was cross-examining the scene examiner who took the photographs, Karen Johnston.

He asked her whether she had been asked to photograph any "guns, explosives, or books, manuals or instructions on how to make explosives".

She replied that she had not.

Muirhead and McKenzie are also accused of plotting to kill various people in the premises of Irish Republican organisation Cairde Na Heireann in Glasgow by sending them a parcel bomb.

They deny sending improvised explosive devices to Lennon, Ms Godman, Mr McBride and Cairde Na Heireann between March 1 and April 15 last year.

It is alleged they believed the devices were capable of exploding.

The pair face an alternative charge of conspiring to cause an explosion of a nature "likely to endanger life or cause serious injury to property", which they also deny.

The trial, before Lord Turnbull, continues.

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