Four ‘dissidents’ to be sentenced

Royal Courts of Justice, Chichester Street, Belfast. Picture: Diane Magill
Royal Courts of Justice, Chichester Street, Belfast. Picture: Diane Magill

Four dissident republican suspects who the PSNI believe were on “operational duty for the Real IRA’’ will be sentenced this Friday after police stopped a car over three years ago and found a gun and ammunition.

Disc jockey Darryn Patrick McCallion, 25, of Rathlin Drive, Londonderry, Martin McLoone, 25, of Abercorn Drive, Londonderry, and Daniel John Turnbull, 33, pleaded guilty at Belfast Crown Court to possession of a firearm with intent on October 11, 2010.

Turnbull, of Strule Park, Omagh, Co Tyrone, also pleaded guilty to a further count on the same date of possessing articles likely to be used in terrorism.

Mark McGuigan, 29, of Sperrin View, Omagh, was found guilty at his trial last November of possessing a firearm with intent and possessing a firearm and ammunition in suspicious circumstances.

A prosecuting counsel yesterday told Belfast Crown Court that uniformed PSNI officers stopped a Ford Fiesta car on the Gorticashel Road outside Omagh on October 11, 2010.

The court heard McGuigan was driving the car, which was registered to his mother, and tried to reverse forwards and backwards causing a minor collision with the police car.

“The driver’s window was broken by police with the butt of a rifle,’’ said counsel.

Judge Corinne Philpott QC was told that Turnbull was the front seat passenager and that rear seats of the Fiesta were laid down flat.

In the rear of the vehicle were McCallion and McLoone.

Counsel said that during a search of the vehicle, police found a green Celtic holdall and inside was a loaded .38 Webley revolver concealed inside a sock.

“This weapon had been deactivated in 2003 but had subsequently been reactivated to fire .22 rifle cartridges.

“The firing pin had been bent which meant it could not strike the rifle cartridge and could not fire a cartridge.’’

However, prosecuting counsel said a forensics expert said it would have required only a “minor adjustment’’ to the firing pin for it to fire the .22 cartidges.

He added: “There was firearms residue on the revolver which showed it had been able to fire previously.’’

The court heard that inside a second sock was a quantity of ammunition.

The following day, on October 12, police carried out a search at 5 Mill Cottages in Greencastle, Co Tyrone and found a three-door Renault Clio car belonging to Turnbull parked outside.

Inside the car, officers found a sub-machine gun and magazine along with 42 .22 calibre cartridges.