Bombs away | 

Bin collectors could have been blown up by a bomb dumped by paedophile

The 'viable' device was strapped to the front door of the 55-year-old's Orby Drive home earlier in the week and instead of calling in the police to take it away after it failed to explode, the child porn addict stuck it in the bin.

Andrew Patton at his home in east Belfast this week

Steven Moore

Bin collectors could have been blown up by a bomb dumped in a wheelie bin by a pathetic paedo targeted by loyalists.

The Sunday World helped avert a tragedy after we contacted police on Wednesday to alert them about the device which could easily have gone off when the bin was emptied by Belfast City Council refuse collectors.

We can reveal that Andrew Patton - due to be sentenced on Monday at Antrim Crown Court for a stash of over 16,000 disgusting indecent images and videos of kids being raped - was the target of the pipe bomb attack that saw over 60 homes evacuated in east Belfast before it was defused by Army experts.

The 'viable' device was strapped to the front door of the 55-year-old's Orby Drive home earlier in the week and instead of calling in the police to take it away after it failed to explode, the child porn addict stuck it in the bin.

Our guy Steven confronts Patton

We received a call from a concerned member of the public telling us Patton had told a number of people about the bomb but had failed to report it to the authorities.

Around 2.30pm we made the call to the PSNI and just before 4pm a team of PSNI officers started evacuating houses in the area after the device was found where we said it would be - in the black wheelie bin.

Forensic experts were seen examining the device on the side of the residential street after army technical officers had made it safe.

It's understood loyalist paramilitaries were behind the attack in a bid to force pervy Patton out of east Belfast and, given the area, police are following the line that East Belfast UVF were behind the attack.

Afraid of drawing more attention to himself, Patton put the lives of those refuse collectors and others in his neighbourhood at risk by failing to alert the authorities.

A source told the Sunday World: "He was only recently convicted of having child pornography and it's been a source of huge embarrassment to him and his family.

"He found the bomb on Monday stuck to his front door but it fell off when he opened the door and didn't explode. He knew if he rang it in the place would be crawling with cops so he just chucked it in the bin and pretended it didn't happen.

"What was he even thinking picking it up in the first place? It could have killed him but when it didn't go off he still shouldn't have just dumped it in his bin."

It's not clear how long the device would have been lying in the bin for before collection day but it's understood the bomb had been there for a full 48 hours before police were called to the scene by this newspaper.

Dozens of families were told to leave their homes for their own safety and some spent hours in a nearby community centre until the device was made safe.

"It could easily have gone off at any time and killed or maimed someone on the bin lorry. Or it could have gone off on the street when it was due to be collected.

"His house is very close to Orangefield Primary School and Grosvenor Grammar School and kids would be walking past his house every day.

"He wasn't thinking about anyone but himself as usual."

Last month the Sunday World revealed how Patton had been convicted of having one of the biggest stashes of child pornography ever found in Northern Ireland.

It further emerged Patton had lied to family and friends when he was originally arrested five years ago by telling them he was in trouble for fraud rather than indecent child images and videos.

And throughout his five-year wait for trial, Patton remained in a relationship with a mum with several children who it has been claimed was not informed about the nature of his charges.

When we called at his home after he was charged he didn't want to comment.

In response to questions about why he had so many images and whether he feared going to jail, he just repeatedly said "No" and then closed the door.

In addition to his confession that he had at least 16,275 indecent or prohibited images of children, Patton also admitted to having at least 70 sickening videos.

He entered guilty pleas to all 44 charges against him.

In total Patton confessed his guilt to 34 counts of possessing indecent images, seven of having prohibited images and three of having extreme pornography, all committed between December 28, 2015 and February 18, 2016.

Patton had 1,197 images and 44 videos in the most serious category A, 1,083 images and 17 videos at assessed at category B along with 6,455 category C images and nine videos.

In addition, pervy Patton was caught with 7,540 prohibited images of children and three images which amounted to extreme pornography.

So large was the amount it has taken police and prosecutors five years to bring the case to court. Patton was due to be sentenced on Wednesday, but the case was put back until tomorrow with Judge Richard Greene QC telling him he must appear at Antrim Crown Court in person, rather than attending at his solicitor's office.

On Wednesday the PSNI launched an investigation into whoever left the bomb at his home.

A police spokesperson said: "Officers received a report that a suspicious object had been discovered outside a property in the area at around 2.30pm. "The object, which has been declared as a viable device, was made safe by ammunition technical officers. It has since been taken away for further forensic examinations."

Inspector McNulty said: "A number of residents who were evacuated from their homes, have now returned and we would like to thank those affected by this alert for their patience.

"Leaving viable explosive devices in a residential area is a completely reckless act and shows no regard for the lives of people in this area.

"I would appeal to anyone who noticed any suspicious activity in the Castlereagh Road area, or anyone with any information which can assist us with our inquiries, to contact police on 101 quoting reference number 992 13/09/21."

Alliance councillor Michael Long said: "Those behind these sorts of devices represent nobody in the community and just causes disruption for locals.

"I utterly condemn them, as they clearly have no regard for anyone else. I am thankful the local residents are all safe.

"My thanks go to the police and other authorities who have dealt with this situation. If anyone has any information on the incident, I urge them to contact the PSNI with it immediately."

Today's Headlines

More Crime

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos