Police hunt bomb suspect

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The Independent Online
A WARRANT was issued for the arrest of an Iranian physicist yesterday after a parcel-bomb explosion in which a private detective and his wife were hurt.

Michael Coyne, a 63-year-old former policeman, and his wife, Margaret, were said to be stable in hospital last night as detectives began an international search for Cyrus Ghiaffy, 57, whose car was found at Heathrow Airport hours after the blast.

The device, which exploded at the Coyne's home in Dundee, was one of three handed in to a TNT parcel delivery office in Thetford, Norfolk, on Thursday. The two others, addressed to intended victims in Kent and Fife, were defused by bomb disposal experts. One was addressed to Derek Lawson, 49, a former solicitor in Dundee.

Dundee Sheriff Court issued the arrest warrant yesterday afternoon. It is understood that Mr Coyne had been involved in investigating a civil case in which Mr Ghiaffy was involved.

Detective Chief Superintendent Tom Ross said Mr Ghiaffy had a number of business interests in the area, although he refused to say whether these might provide a possible motive for the parcel-bomb attacks.

"I would regard anyone who engages in activities like these as dangerous," he said.

"He should not be approached, but anyone with information to his whereabouts should contact the police immediately."

A spokeswoman for Tayside police said there was no terrorist motive in the attacks.

She said the discovery of Mr Ghiaffy's car at Heathrow Airport meant police were considering the strong possibility that he was no longer in the country.

He is described as 5ft 6ins tall, of a thin build and of Asian appearance with a pock-marked face.

He lived in the St Andrews area of Fife but police would not say whether he had worked as a physicist at the university.

"The fact that he is a physicist and the fact that he is Iranian should not be misconstrued as terrorism," the spokeswoman said. She said there appeared to be a link to a previous civil case.

Mr and Mrs Coyne were reported to be conscious and not seriously injured last night.