LATEST: Pomeroy mother-of-three admits dissident terrorist training camp charges


A mother of three from Pomeroy today (Wednesday) admitted three charges linked to a dissident training camp set up in a Co Tyrone forest.

Sharon Rafferty is the last of four defendants to plead to offences arising from the discovery of a firing range at Formil Wood between Greencastle and Broughdery in March 2012.

The prosecution believe the training camp was in an advanced state of preparation for an attack by dissident republicans.

Rafferty, from Cabhan Aluinn in Pomeroy, initially denied a string of charges levelled against her. However, after she was produced in the dock of Belfast Crown Court today, her defence barrister asked that she be re-arraigned on two of the charges she faced.

The 38-year old admitted possessing a .22 Walther rifle and ammunition in suspicious circumstances on March 30, 2012, and also attending a place used for terrorist training, namely Formil Wood, on the same date. She also entered a guilty plea when charged with preparing or helping others in the preparation of an improvised firing range.

After the guilty pleas were entered, a prosecutor said the Crown was accepting the plea. He also asked that two other charges Rafferty faced - including belonging to a proscribed organisation, namely the Irish Republican Army - be left on the books.

Rafferty was the last of four people charged in connection with the training camp to admit her guilty. Her and three co-accused, Co Tyrone brothers Gavin (38) and Aiden Coney (35) and Toomebridge man Sean Kelly, were all due to stand trial before a non-jury court this month.

All four initially denied the charges and the Diplock trial was due to commence at Belfast Crown Court. However Kelly pleaded guilty to several charges last week, while the Coney brothers admitted various charges yesterday.

As all four have now pleaded guilty, they are due to be sentenced on charges arising from the training camp on July 1.