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Two men are jailed for five years each over Neil Lennon bomb plot

Updated: Friday, 27 Apr 2012 16:51 | Comments

Neil Lennon said he was glad the 'stressful and difficult' ordeal was over
Neil Lennon said he was glad the 'stressful and difficult' ordeal was over

The actions of two men who sent parcel bombs to Celtic manager Neil Lennon and other prominent figures connected to the football club were described as "incomprehensible" as they were jailed for five years each today.

Trevor Muirhead, 44, and Neil McKenzie, 42, were jailed for conspiring to assault Lennon, former MSP Trish Godman and the late QC Paul McBride, as well as people at the republican organisation Cairde Na hÉireann, by sending devices they believed were capable of exploding and causing severe injury.

McKenzie, from Saltcoats, Ayrshire, was also sentenced to 18 months for a separate charge of posting a hoax bomb to Lennon at Celtic Park to make him believe it was likely to explode, which will run concurrently with his five-year sentence.

Muirhead, from Kilwinning, also Ayrshire, was cleared of the charge with a not proven verdict.

Both men were originally accused of a more serious charge of conspiring to murder their targets but it was thrown out a day before the trial concluded due to insufficient evidence.

At the High Court in Glasgow on Friday, judge Lord Turnbull said he could not "fathom" what was in their minds when they decided to send the packages.

He said: "It is incomprehensible that two such family men, in their 40s, would engage in such reckless and serious criminal conduct.

"Even the sending of a package as a bomb hoax would always be a serious offence and would be bound to result in a custodial sentence - that is because of the widespread disruption and anxiety caused by such conduct."

The judge said it was "obvious" he was not dealing with what would be considered "acts of terrorism".

Lennon said he was glad the "stressful and difficult" ordeal was over, but he wished his good friend Mr McBride had lived to see the matter brought to an end.

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