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
Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Image from a flyer at the CPAC event where Nigel Farage will be speaking
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower