Northern Ireland news

Man facing charges linked to attempt on police officer's life in Dungiven remanded into custody

Kieran McCool

A MAN described in court as a "bomb maker for the New IRA" has been remanded in custody charged in connection with the explosive device found at the home of a PSNI officer outside Dungiven last month.

Kieran McCool (52) of Ballymagowan Gardens in Derry faced a total of five charges including three of possessing improvised explosive devices on various dates from December 31 2015 and April 20 2021.

He was also charged with preparatory acts of terrorism between the same dates and possessing a mobile phone for use in a act of terrorism on dates between September 17 2017 and January 22 2019.

Derry Magistrates Court was told that the explosive devices related to the bomb attack in Dungiven, a device found in the Skeoge Road in July 2016 and a mortar device in Strabane in September 2019.

A police officer told the court the PSNI believed McCool was a "bomb maker on behalf of the new IRA" and had been involved in a series of incidents going back to 2015 and right up to the attack in Dungiven.

He said the evidence against McCool was "multifaceted" and included DNA evidence.

He added there was also electronic evidence relating to internet searches on how to build explosive devices.

Defence solicitor Ruarai Muldoon asked the officer was the case in relation to Dungiven based on the fact that police believed they could link the defendant to material found in the Skeoge Road and there were similarities to the device in Dungiven.

The officer said this was so.

Mr Muldoon said that the case appeared to be that a number of fire extinguishers were found on the Skeoge Road that police believe McCool could be connected to and a fire extinguisher was found in the Dungiven attack.

The officer said that the "bomb maker's signature" showed similar adaptations to timing devices and power units.

Mr Muldoon said his client had been charged in March and released on bail on similar charges and due to his ill health.

McCool did not speak during the hearing but was using a stick and did not sit down as the solicitor said it was more comfortable for him to stand.

The judge said while there was still a presumption of innocence, the charges including "the well documented attempt on the life of a police officer in Dungiven" were serious.

He remanded McCool on custody to appear at Derry Magistrate's Court on June 10.

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