Northern Ireland news

Man jailed for keeping guns for dissident republicans

Edward Corr appears at Craigavon Court in October 2016

A father of three who was caught with guns and ammunition belonging to dissident republicans is starting a nine-month prison sentence.

Edward Francis Corr was arrested after police searched a shed at his Foxes Glen home in Dunmurry in October 2016.

Corr - who claimed he was threatened at gunpoint to store a bag containing the guns - was handed an 18-month sentence at Belfast Crown Court today. He was informed by Judge Paul Ramsey that he will serve half the sentence in prison, followed by nine months on licence when he is released from jail.

Corr admitted a charge of possessing firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life and possession of a modified firearm.

The court heard the charges related to the discovery of two semi-automatic pistols, two magazines and a quantity of ammunition as well as a Skorpion M48 sub machine gun which was " designed or adapted that two or more missiles could be successively discharged without repeated pressure on the trigger''.

At the time of the discovery, police linked the guns to dissident republican group Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH).

At a previous hearing, prosecution counsel Liam McCollum QC said the weapons were seized by police during a search of a shed at Corr's Dunmurry home on October 24, 2016.

Corr was arrested and during police interview he told detectives that weeks earlier he was having a cigarette at the side of his house when he saw a man at his garden shed trying to hide a bag.

Corr claimed that he confronted the man who told that him he was a from a "paramilitary organisation". Mr McCollum said this man told Corr to hold on to the bag and it would be collected from him.

The prosecutor said: "He says he was resistant to this and the man pointed the gun at his head and threatened him." Corr claimed the man told him he "would be shot" if he didn't keep the the bag, and that it would be collected in five or six weeks time.

Corr also said during interview that he feared the consequences for his wife and three children if he didn't keep the bag, and if he didn't comply violence would be used against him.

The court was told Corr's fingerprint was found on one of the guns inside the bag after it underwent a forensic examination.

Gavan Duffy QC, representing Corr, said his client was a joiner by trade who had a mental health history brought on by the loss of his three year-old brother in "traumatic circumstances" when they were both children.

Saying Corr had "kept himself to himself" on remand and did not associate with paramilitary inmates, Mr Duffy said Corr's main concern whilst behind bars is for his family.

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