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.'

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
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

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin