School flame-thrower suspect faces extradition

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A MAN sought by the Royal Ulster Constabulary in connection with a flame-thrower attack on pupils at a school in Co Down faces extradition proceedings in the Irish Republic after surrendering to gardai yesterday, writes Alan Murdoch.

Garnett Stephen Bell, 46, was held after giving himself up to a priest in Limerick in the west of Ireland. He was remanded until Thursday at Limerick District Court on a provisional warrant issued under the Irish Extradition Act, pending receipt of formal warrants from the RUC.

Mr Bell, who was described as a trained electrician, now living on pounds 74--a-week disability benefit, had an application for bail turned down. He handed himself in to gardai late on Sunday after talking to a priest at St John's Cathedral in the city.

Six teenage boys were hurt in last Friday's attack with a home- made flame-thrower at Sullivan Upper Grammar School, in Hollywood, Co Down. The incident occurred as 31 pupils were sitting a French A-level exam.

Three of them were yesterday still seriously ill in the intensive care unit at Belfast's Royal Victoria Infirmary. One pupil suffered burns to 40 per cent of his body.

Pupils returned to Sullivan Upper school yesterday and for some it will be back to the examination hall to finish off their GCSEs and A-levels. Counselling and professional advice has been arranged for pupils and teachers, who have problems getting over the trauma of the attack.

Canon J A Monroe, chairman of the school governors, said: 'The weekend has given the pupils and their families the opportunity to recover from their ordeal but they will have to face up to coming back.'