01 July 2005

Two jailed over incendiary bomb


The incendiary bomb was left in Belfast city centre

Two men who tried to blow up a city centre car tax office, have been jailed for a total of 17 years.

Terence McCafferty, 36, from Dill House, New Lodge, Belfast, and Paul Donnelly, 26, from Colinview Street, Belfast, admitted having explosives.

They left a device, which was later defused, outside the motor tax office at Upper Queen Street in November 2002.

Donnelly was shot by a police officer as they fled. Police blamed dissident republicans for the attempted bombing.

At Belfast Crown Court on Friday, Judge Mr Justice Weir said the device, "had the potential to cause serious injury to innocent passers-by".

The would-be bombers were being watched by police and army as the bomb was driven to the tax office.

'Under surveillance'

The court heard that McCafferty was driving the stolen car containing the improvised incendiary device. Donnelly followed in another car, waiting to pick him up.

However, after the pair drove off, police intercepted them at the junction of Howard Street and Great Victoria Street and Donnelly was shot.

Sending McCafferty to jail for 12 years and ordering that Donnelly complete two years' probation after his five-year term, Mr Justice Weir said the pair were lucky not to be facing more serious charges.

"Our society has had more than sufficient experience of the misery created by terrorist activity of this type," he said.

"At a time when efforts are being made to restore normality with considerable success, had this device exploded the damage caused to that process would have been considerable," he said.

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