Man gets 25 years for IRA bomb plot: Judges tells court that terrorist plan to detonate three-and-a-half-tons of explosive would have caused enormous damage. Terry Kirby reports

AN IRISH lorry driver with convictions for importuning and indecency was yesterday sentenced to 25 years in prison for his part in an IRA plot to detonate its biggest terrorist bomb in Britain.

Patrick Kelly, 41, was also convicted of the attempted murder of Constable Raymond Hall, who was shot in the back by Kelly's accomplice after the police officer stopped the IRA lorry bomb during a routine check in November last year.

The Old Bailey jury was told that the three-and-a-half-ton bomb, packed in a lorry being driven by Kelly, had more than twice the destructive power of the bombs planted at St Mary Axe and Bishopsgate in the City of London and would have caused massive destruction. Although the bomb's timers were ready to be set for detonation, anti-terrorist branch officers were unable to establish its intended target, or why it was being driven north through Stoke Newington in north-east London during the middle of the night.

Sentencing Kelly, Mr Justice Leonard said the bomb 'would have caused enormous damage and destruction to property - and more importantly would have killed or seriously hurt anyone in the area'. As a driver, Kelly was not in command, but his responsibility had been 'enormous'.

After the lorry was brought to a halt by PC Hall and a colleague, Kelly and his accomplice were chased up a side road. There, the court was told, the accomplice pointed a gun at the bridge of PC Hall's nose and fired, but the officer ducked and the bullet grazed his scalp. As he fled, he was shot in the back. The bullet missed his vital organs and he later recovered from his injuries. The accomplice has not yet been caught.

After unsuccessfully trying to hijack a car, containing a young couple and a baby, Kelly was arrested a short distance away. Analysis of fibres linked him to a red sweater found abandoned nearby - which witnesses saw him wearing - and also to the lorry cabin; a particle of firearms residue was found on his face. The gun was discovered in a nearby garden.

Detectives could not establish firm links between Kelly and the Republican movement. He came from a farming family in Ballybrittas, County Laoise, left school at 13 and later worked as a lorry and crane driver, spending much of the last 20 years in England. Said by police to be bisexual, he has convictions in London in 1973 and 1989 for importuning and gross indecency. In 1987, he was convicted in Dublin, with three other men, of kidnapping a horse dealer. He was jailed for nine years, suspended for two.

It is understood Irish police had Kelly earmarked as a Republican activist. He may have been approached to become involved in the IRA's mainland campaign after returning home following the deaths of his parents in 1991.

Defence witnesses described him as 'a typical country boy'. The defence claimed he had nothing to do with the lorry and had been in England on a trip to buy 'computers, umbrellas and kettles' for a business. He did not give evidence.

PC Hall, 37, married with two children, has been a police officer since 1988; he is a former Royal Engineer who served in the Falklands. He said yesterday: 'I joined the police to serve the public and the public, in the form of the jury, returned their support with the guilty verdict.'

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind-the-scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

C# Algo-Developer (BDD/TDD, ASP.NET, JavaScript, RX)

£45000 - £69999 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Algo-Develo...

Senior Data Scientist (Data Mining, Apache Mahout, Python,R,AI)

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...

Data Scientist (SQL,Data mining, data modelling, PHD, AI)

£50000 - £80000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Data Sci...

Java Developer - 1 year contract

£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone