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Northern Ireland actor admits helping to bomb British army base in Germany

By Aaron Tinney

A former Northern Irish actor once tipped for fame has finally confessed he was involved in a 1996 IRA bombing of a British army base in Germany - but insisted the mass murder of soldiers was not the aim of the attack.

James Corry made the admission when he appeared yesterday for the first day of his trial at Osnabruck regional court in north-west Germany.

The 48-year-old - who once appeared on TV alongside the best-known British actors of the 1990s - admitted he was a member of the Provisional IRA when the group launched a mortar attack on the Army base in Osnabruck in 1996.

Terrorists fired three Mark 15 mortar shells at the barracks' petrol station from a Ford Transit, but missed their target.

Corry agreed he was in Osnabruck, Lower Saxony, ahead of the attack on the base on June 28 in 1996 and was responsible for mounting a pre-assembled mortar firing device on the back of a rented Ford Transit pick-up truck.

He drove the truck to a side entrance of the base at 6.15pm and triggered a timer, which caused the detonation at 6.50pm.

Corry said through his defence attorney Dirk Schenian: "It is not disputed that the aim was to kill members of the British armed forces.

"But if the aim was to kill as many as possible, the attack wouldn't have been planned at 6.15pm but at midday, when there was as much movement as possible on the base."

Corry once had an acting role as a British Army squaddie in a Channel 4 production called High Boot Benny.

He also played an RUC officer opposite Amanda Burton and Kevin McNally in The Precious Blood, a BBC drama about a political killing in Northern Ireland.

Corry, who was wearing a grey tracksuit top, black shirt, jeans and trainers for his court appearance in Germany, said he was a father of seven children and one of seven born in Belfast in 1968.

He revealed that his first memory was of seeing a woman shot dead before his eyes as he played on the street.

Corry and his family have been supported in his trial by Sinn Fein and a representative was in court yesterday, who Corry greeted by raising his fist in salute. If found guilty he is likely to face up to five years in prison.

In 2003, former British soldier Michael Dixon was sentenced to six years and six months for his role in the 1996 attack.

German prosecutors believe five people in total were involved.

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