Alleged ‘New IRA bomb maker’ in court over explosive device found at PSNI officer’s home

A 52-year-old man charged in connection with an explosive device found at the home of a PSNI officer outside Dungiven last month has been remanded in custody.

Friday, 14th May 2021, 3:46 pm
Updated Friday, 14th May 2021, 4:35 pm
A viable device was left at the home of a female police officer near Dungiven in County Londonderry.

Kieran McCool, of Ballymagowan Gardens, Londonderry, faces a total of five charges between December 31, 2015 and April 20, this year.

They include charges of possessing improvised explosive devices with intent to endanger life, preparatory acts of terrorism and possessing a mobile phone for use in an act of terrorism.

Belfast Magistrates’ Court was told that the explosive devices offences relate to a bomb attack in Dungiven, a device found in the Skeoge Road in July, 2016, and a mortar device in Strabane in September, 2019.

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An investigating officer told the court they believed McCool was a ‘bomb maker on behalf of the new IRA’ and had been involved in a series of incidents going back to 2015.

The court heard the evidence against McCool was ‘multifaceted’ and included DNA evidence and what the officer described as ‘a bomb maker’s signature’.

The officer said there was ‘trace explosive evidence’ on a jacket found in McCool’s house on March 18, this year.

He added there was also electronic evidence relating to internet searches on how to build explosive devices.

Under cross-examination by defence solicitor Ruairi Muldoon, the officer confirmed that the case against McCool in relation to the attack in Dungiven is based on the similarities between that device and material found in Skeoge Road, which police believe they can connect to the 52-year-old.

The officer said that the ‘bomb maker’s signature’ showed similar adaptations to timing devices and power units.

Mr Muldoon told the court his client was charged with similar offences in March and since being released on bail McCool ‘had not left the house’ because of ill health.

The solicitor added that the internet searches police are relying on took place in 2017 and 2018.

He added that some of these videos, on sites like YouTube, had been viewed millions of times.

The judge refused bail and McCool was remanded in custody to appear at Londonderry Magistrates’ Court via videolink on June 10.