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Republic of Ireland number plate found in debris of car bomb, court hears

CourtsBy Sunday World
Republic of Ireland number plate found in debris of car bomb, court hears

A number plate from the Republic of Ireland was found in the debris of a car bomb at Newry courthouse in 2010, the Special Criminal Court trial of a man accused of IRA membership has heard.

Darren Weldon (45), of Drinadaly, Trim, Co Meath has pleaded not guilty to membership of an unlawful organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Óglaigh na hÉireann, otherwise the IRA on October 14, 2014.

It is the prosecution case that DNA evidence links Mr Weldon to a car registration plate found among the debris in the aftermath of the explosion on February 22, 2010.

Today, Alison Gilbert, a crime scene surveyor, told prosecuting counsel Sean Guerin SC that she had produced a map of the scene, locating various items of interest.

One such item, the court heard, was a car registration plate, found 28 metres from the crater caused by the explosion.

The registration number was from the Republic of Ireland, the court heard. 

Sergeant Alistair Paterson, of the PSNI, told Mr Guerin that on February 22, 2010, he was made aware that a car was parked suspiciously outside Newry courthouse.

After travelling to the area, the sergeant noticed the car, a Mazda 6, parked tight against the front gates of the courthouse, he told the court. 

He made a note of the registration, which was from the Republic of Ireland, the court heard. 

While Sergeant Paterson was cordoning off the area, he told Mr Guerin, he heard an explosion.

The trial continues in front of Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, with Judge Martin Nolan and Judge Cormac Dunne.

Daniel Hickey