PC 'shot by IRA gang' had been due to end shift

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The Independent Online
A POLICEMAN shot three times by an IRA gang which bombed a gasworks should have ended his shift three hours earlier but had agreed to do some overtime, an Old Bailey jury was told yesterday.

Constable Mark Toker, 25, yesterday came face-to-face with the men accused of trying to kill him almost a year ago, shortly after they allegedly planted three bombs at the depot in Warrington, Cheshire.

However, the jury was told that the men accused of the officer's shooting and the explosions had nothing to do with the killings of Johnathan Ball, three, and Tim Parry, 12, who died in another IRA blast in the town last March.

Pairic MacFhloinn, 40, from Dublin, and Denis Kinsella, 27, from Nottingham, have denied causing explosions, attempting to murder two policemen, kidnapping a motorist, and being in possession of a firearm.

John Kinsella, 49, Denis's uncle, also from Nottingham, pleaded not guilty to possessing Semtex explosives with intent.

But John Nutting, for the prosecution, told the court that a search of an allotment used by John Kinsella had unearthed a holdall containing three blocks of Semtex, bomb timers, a pistol and ammunition. Later Mr Kinsella admitted to police that he had taken the bag, given to him for safekeeping, from Mr MacFhloinn and another man, Michael Timmins, who he had met at his nephew's house, but said he believed that it had contained candlesticks from a burglary.

'I have been stitched up like a kipper by my nephew and the two men,' Mr Kinsella was said to have told police. 'I realise I have been used. I'm up to my eyeballs in it thanks to my favourite nephew.'

But police also found a radio scanner at Mr Kinsella's house, with the frequencies of seven local Nottingham police stations programmed into the memory, a stolen blank marriage certificate and a fake blank Irish passport.

The court had heard that PC Toker stopped the men shortly after they were alleged to have planted the bombs because he thought they might have been drunk as they had stopped at a green traffic light in the early hours of the morning.

Shortly afterwards the constable was shot as he moved to search the vehicle and began an extended police chase which led to the capture of two of the men, Mr Nutting said earlier.

The trial continues today.