Northern Ireland

Father and daughter in court over Derry weapons find

The two accused appeared at Londonderry Magistrates’ Court (Cate McCurry/PA)
The two accused appeared at Londonderry Magistrates’ Court (Cate McCurry/PA) The two accused appeared at Londonderry Magistrates’ Court (Cate McCurry/PA)

A father and daughter have appeared in court charged with possessing weapons, including Soviet grenade heads, which police have linked to the New IRA.

Shannon Kelly, 26, from Creevagh Heights, and Gerard Anthony Kelly, 48, from Victoria Place, both in Derry, appeared at the city’s magistrates’ court on Tuesday.

The court heard that the items were seized by police last week as part of an operation in which 16 officers were injured during public unrest.

A PSNI vehicle damaged during disorder in Derry
A PSNI vehicle damaged during disorder in Derry A PSNI vehicle damaged during disorder in Derry (PSNI/PA)

The pair are charged with a number of offences including possession of explosives with intent to endanger life on September 7.

The court heard that the explosives include two Soviet grenade heads, plastic explosives and two detonators.

The two accused are also charged with having explosives under suspicious circumstances, having a gun and a quantity of ammunition with intent, and having the gun and ammunition in suspicious circumstances.

Dealing with the case of Shannon Kelly, a detective constable said a blue bin was discovered in her back garden during police searches last week.

The officer said there was a purple holdall in the bin which contained a number of items including two military grenades, two packages of plastic explosives totalling just over 1.2kg, two commercial electric detonators and a gun and ammunition.

Asked if there had been significant public disorder at the time the search was being carried out, the officer said: “There were at least 16 officers injured, many of whom remain on the sick, and quite a few vehicles damaged in the disorder which went on for a few hours.”

The detective constable said Shannon Kelly told police that her father had put the bag in her bin and she had believed contained drugs.

He said he believed the items had been placed in the bin around half an hour before they were discovered by police.

A defence solicitor made an application for bail, saying Shannon Kelly appeared to have been “badly used by other more sinister people”.

He added: “She was presented with a fait accompli whenever these items arrived at her house.

“She had absolutely zero interest in any of this and now finds herself in this nightmarish situation.”

District Judge Barney McElholm granted bail with conditions to Shannon Kelly.

Turning to the case of her father, the detective constable said it appeared that Gerard Kelly was the “means of moving the munitions”.

The officer added that it was the police assessment that the weapons were linked to the New IRA and that Gerard Kelly had been acting as a “facilitator”.

A defence lawyer said his client accepts he took the bag to the house but regrets that he got his daughter into trouble and had attempted to hand himself into police before he was arrested.

The judge refused bail for Gerard Kelly.

Both accused are to appear in court again on October 5.