Lennon bomb pair lose their appeals

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TWO men jailed for sending parcel bombs to Glasgow Celtic manager Neil Lennon have lost their appeal against their convictions.

Trevor Muirhead (44) from Saltcoats and Neil McKenzie (43) from Kilwinning, both in Ayreshire, were jailed for five years for posting a bomb to Lurgan-born Celtic boss Neil Lennon as well as other high-profile supporters of the club.

Their five-week trial heard how McKenzie claimed to have learned how to make a hoax bomb by watching The A-Team on television.

Giving evidence at the time, Lennon said he was left “very disturbed” after finding out he was targeted and added that he “couldn’t believe the lengths some people will go to”.

Both men were convicted of conspiring to assault Lennon, former MSP Trish Godman and the late Paul McBride QC by sending devices they believed were capable of exploding and causing injury.

Muirhead and McKenzie were originally accused of conspiring to murder their targets, but the more serious charge was thrown out due to insufficient evidence a day before the trial concluded.

At the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh, legal teams for the two men made the argument that there was insufficient evidence to prove their clients had believed the packages really could explode.

Three senior judges - Lord Philip, Lord Menzies and Lady Clark - have now ruled on Thursday that both convictions should stand.

“In our view, the evidence was sufficient to entitle the jury to draw the inference in relation to each appellant,” Lord Philip said.

“First, that he had been party to an attempt to create an explosive substance for inclusion in the packages and, secondly, that he believed the various parcels sent comprised an improvised explosive device which was capable of igniting or exploding, causing injury.”

One of the parcels sent by the two men - which was addressed to republican organisation Cairde Na hEireann in Glasgow - was returned to Royal Mail’s National Returns Centre in Belfast.

It was found to contain potentially explosive peroxide.