Court hears details of ‘purpose to kill’ pipe bombs

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DUNGANNON Magistrates Court has heard the details of seven “purpose to kill” pipe bombs found in a rucksack in Dungannon earlier this year.

The remarks were made during an application for compassionate bail for accused Thomas Hamill (40) from Springdale estate, Dungannon who faces charges of terrorism.

Thomas Hamill, along with Desmond John Joseph Hamill, who is accused of two separate offences relating to an armed robbery in January of this year, applied for compassionate bail to attend the funeral of their aunt at the weekend.

Bail in both cases was refused by Deputy District Judge Noel Dunlop at Friday’s sitting due to flight risks.

The PSNI had opposed bail in both cases, and during a hearing told how officers gave chase to a car in which Thomas Hamill was a front seat passenger on May 28th, 2012 when seven improvised devices were found in a rucksack aborted from the vehicle.

A Detective Constable described how police had attempted to stop a Toyota Avensis car in the Newmills area on the date in question. After a one mile “police chase” in which officers used lights, sirens, and their horns, a black holdall was deposited from the passenger’s side of the vehicle onto a grass verge on the Mineveigh Road.

The Detective Constable said that two police cars were involved in pursuing the vehicle before it came to a stop, and that the rucksack was witnessed by two officers, each in separate vehicles, being thrown from the car.

The officers recovered the rucksack a “short distance” away and spoke to both the driver, and the front seat passenger of the Avensis, identified as Thomas Hamill. On checking the contents of the rucksack a police officer observed two white plastic bags with “metallic type objects” - later discovered to be improvised devices.

An officer asked Thomas Hamill what was inside the bag, he made no reply.

The Detective Constable speaking in court said that seven separate improvised devices were made safe in an operation that lasted one day with Army Technical Officers.

They were “anti-personnel” in nature, with nails and bolts which he said on explosion would travel a large distance with the “purpose to kill and severely injure” and cause “maximum damage”.

After being arrested Thomas Hamill and a co-accused were taken to Antrim Serious Crime Suite for questioning where Hamill refused to answer questions on the bag and its contents.

A defence solicitor applying on behalf of both men for compassionate bail said a family member was willing to put forward a cash surety so they could attend their aunt’s funeral, whom they were very close to.

He said the seriousness of both offences which they are accused of was not a reason for stopping them from receiving bail.

Deputy District Judge Noel Dunlop agreed, but said that due to the high risk of absconding he was refusing bail in both cases.