Man linked by DNA to bid to kill police officer, court told

Police at Shandon Park Golf Club after a viable device was discovered under a police officer's car.  PICTURE MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER
Police at Shandon Park Golf Club after a viable device was discovered under a police officer's car. PICTURE MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER
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A man accused of trying to murder an off-duty police officer with a car bomb is allegedly linked by DNA evidence, a court heard today.

Detectives claimed 38-year-old Peter Granaghan’s profile was on wires attached to the booby trap device discovered at a golf club in east Belfast on June 1.

Dissident republican group The New IRA claimed responsibility at the time.

Granaghan, of Blackrock Park in Belleek, Co Fermanagh, was arrested on Wednesday by detectives investigating the suspected bid to kill.

He appeared amid heavy security at Belfast Magistrates’ Court charged with attempting to murder a serving member of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Granaghan also faces further counts of making and possessing explosives with intent to endanger life.

Handcuffed and dressed in a grey sweatshirt, he smiled and gave a thumbs-up signal to supporters in the public gallery.

The accused nodded to confirm that he understood the alleged offences.

No questions were put to a detective sergeant who said he could connect Granaghan to the charges.

But a defence lawyer told the court: “He maintains his innocence.”

During the hearing the detective set out the grounds for bringing charges.

He said the off-duty officer discovered the bomb below his vehicle while it was parked at Shandon Park Golf Cub.

“He had been walking back to his car when he noticed something underneath it and contacted police,” the detective said.

The device consisted of a wooden box with wires hanging from it.

Army technical experts were called to the scene and carried out a controlled explosion.

With items then seized for forensic examination, the detective said DNA was located on two separate pieces of wire.

“The profile identified relates to the defendant Peter Granaghan,” he alleged.

“That is the sole profile, there’s no other DNA.”

Based on that information, Deputy District Judge Anne Marshall said she was satisfied the legal test for establishing a prima facie case had been met.

Granaghan’s lawyer did not make a bail application, but indicated his client would be challenging the evidence against him in due course.

Judge Marshall remanded the accused in custody, to appear again by video-link in two weeks time.