IRA man guilty of bombing two Tyneside targets: Clothing fibres and footprints links to gas depot blasts

AN IRA terrorist was convicted at the Old Bailey yesterday of bombing oil and gas targets on Tyneside.

Sean McNulty, 26, will be sentenced today by Mr Justice Stephen Mitchell.

He showed no emotion and sat down in the dock as the jury of five women and six men announced their verdict after nearly eight hours of deliberation. But he smiled as he was led to the cells flanked by prison officers.

McNulty, a construction worker from North Shields, Tyne and Wear, had denied conspiring with a person or persons unknown to cause explosions with intent to endanger life between January and June last year.

McNulty took part in bombings at the Esso oil terminal in North Shields and the British Gas depot at Redheugh on Tyneside on the same night in June last year.

Fibres from his clothing and footprints linked him to the blasts, the court was told. The prosecution had also alleged McNulty had been involved in causing an explosion at the Esso plant the previous April, but the jurors could not agree any decision about this allegation.

In the June attacks, one bomb blew a hole in a gas holder containing 1.4 million cubic feet of methane gas, setting it on fire. British Gas staff and firefighters managed to prevent an explosion and the fire burnt itself out, although about 400 people were evacuated from nearby houses.

The same night, two more devices went off within minutes of each other at the Esso terminal. The bombs both contained more than a kilo of Semtex. They ruptured pipelines and an oil tank, but fortunately all were empty, Nigel Sweeney, for the prosecution, had told the court.

He said a bomb component recovered from each site showed the devices were the work of the IRA.

McNulty had a fanatical hatred of the British and gloated when he heard that British soldiers had been shot, the court was told. He had been under surveillance by MI5 and Special Branch before and after the bombings. He had been captured on film by a petrol station video camera which showed him in his car less than half a mile from the gas works less than 15 minutes before the device was timed to explode.

When police examined McNulty's car while he was in Ireland, after the bombings, they found traces of Semtex. Traces were also found at a house he was known to visit on Tyneside.

When he was arrested on his return from Ireland the print from the right boot he was wearing matched imprints found next to a hole cut in the perimeter fence of the Esso terminal and used by the bombers to gain access. Fibres on the cut wire also matched trousers he owned.

McNulty's former girlfriend, Amanda Johnson, 24, the mother of his nine- year-old daughter, told of his IRA allegiance when she appeared for the prosecution. She said that when British soldiers were shot or killed 'he said it served them right'.

Although born in Britain, McNulty kept insisting he was Irish, said Miss Johnson. He had increased his interest in Irish affairs after they were stopped by an RUC patrol after attending a wedding in Co Tyrone, she said.

In a bag he took with him when he worked away from home she found a pile of newspaper cuttings about bombings and shootings in Ireland.

'I put them in the bin, I told him what I had done, I said 'the shit is in the bin'.'

He had been under surveillance by the security services after he was seen with IRA suspects.

Mr Justice Mitchell excused the jurors from jury service for life, thanked them for their care and patience in a case 'saturated by detail'.

Detective Chief Superintendent Barry Stewart, of Northumbria CID, said later: 'I am delighted that the combined resources of the security services, the Metropolitan police and the Northumbria police after a long inquiry and investigation in difficult circumstances have happily achieved this result.'

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Angel Di Maria is shown the red card
tech
Sport
Roger Federer after his win over Tomas Berdych
sport
Life and Style
News in briefs: big pants in 'Bridget Jones's Diary'
fashionBig knickers are back
Sport
James Milner is set to sign for Liverpool this week despite rival interest from Arsenal
sportReds baulk at Benteke £32.5m release clause
News
The controversial Motor Neurone Disease Association poster, featuring sufferer Michael Smith, has drawn a series of angry complaints
newsThis one has been criticised for its 'threatening tone'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: European Sales Director - Aerospace Cable & Wire

£100000 - £125000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a top tier supplier to the...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Project Manager

£17100 - £22900 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the North West's leading...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Technician

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an intermediate help de...

Recruitment Genius: CNC Turner

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This long established manufactu...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral