Republican 'had map of Major's home': Sales executive asked friend to look after tea chest holding explosives, court told

DETECTIVES who raided the home of an Irish republican sympathiser because he left a tea chest of explosives with a friend found a partly burnt map showing the country home of the Prime Minister, the Old Bailey was told yesterday.

John Nutting, for the prosecution, told the jury that the map discovered at the home of Vincent Wood, in Leytonstone, east London, was a street plan of Huntingdon and Godmanchester in Cambridgeshire on which an area in the village of Stukeley - the home of Mr Major - had been marked.

Also written on the map was a figure 6, which Mr Nutting suggested could refer to the fact that the Prime Minister's home was almost exactly six-tenths of a mile from the nearest reference point, a roundabout on the outskirts of Huntingdon.

Mr Nutting alleged that when police raided Mr Wood's home, they smelt burning and went into the garden. In a dustbin, he said, they discovered the charred remains of the map in a bin liner. In Mr Wood's briefcase, they found the telephone numbers of two Huntingdon public houses, written in Gaelic.

Mr Wood, 29, a sales executive, denies conspiracy to cause explosions and possession of explosions with intent to endanger life between January and October last year. He had pleaded guilty to possession of explosives without lawful object.

The court heard that in early October 1992, Mr Wood had asked Tony Robinson, a friend, if he could leave a tea chest at his workplace in Goodmayes, east London.

After several days, two business partners of Mr Robinson became curious about the chest and opened it; with Mr Robinson they examined the contents and became suspicious. They contacted police who placed Mr Wood under surveillance on his return from a business trip to Ireland.

The tea chest contained 17.5 kilograms of Semtex explosive and five timing and power devices used to detonate bombs; three of them had the capacity to time explosions for up to 12 hours.

Mr Nutting said: 'To anyone who has ever dealt with explosions or anyone who has ever encountered objects left by the Provisional IRA to cause explosions, these objects have a dread familiarity.'

The issue before the jury was not whether Mr Wood had the articles in his control, but the purpose for which they were being safeguarded, he said.

After about 10 days, police decided to move in on Mr Wood because of an incident at his office in south London. While Mr Wood was away from his desk, a colleague had taken a call from a man with an Irish accent. When the man rang again, Mr Wood was overhead speaking to him with an Irish accent, a manner he often adopted when dealing with Irishmen, Mr Nutting said.

Although Mr Wood was born and lived in London, he had taken a deep interest in Ireland and Irish affairs. He was learning Gaelic and in 1990 married an Irish woman, a sister at a London hospital. But he said Wood had never been heard to openly support the use of violence. The trial was adjourned until today.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
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

Guru Careers: Business Development Manager / Sales

£30 - 40k (£65k Y1 OTE Uncapped): Guru Careers: We are seeking a Business Deve...

Guru Careers: Graduate Media Assistant

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an ambitious and adaptable...

Guru Careers: Solutions Consultant

£30 - 40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Solutions Consultan...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£30 - 35k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before