Video 'filmed IRA bombers at Harrods': Pair 'part of indiscriminate campaign'

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The Independent Online
TWO middle-aged Englishmen were recorded on hidden security cameras as they planted bombs during an IRA terrorist campaign in London, it was alleged at the Old Bailey yesterday.

The prosecution alleged that the two men seen on videotapes of the scenes before bombings at Harrods in Knightsbridge, and on a train leaving Victoria station, were Patrick Hayes, 41, a computer expert, and Jan Taylor, 51, a former soldier in the British army.

John Bevan, for the prosecution, said: 'It is our case they are IRA terrorists.' The jury was shown a number of grainy, jerky tapes to allow them to decide if the men shown were the two in the dock.

Mr Hayes, 41, of Stoke Newington, north London, is accused of conspiracy to cause explosions at Canary Wharf, Tottenham Court Road and at Woodside Park Tube station car park. With Mr Taylor, 51, of Stepney, east London, he is also accused of conspiracy to cause explosions, of causing an explosion at Harrods and another on the 9.05 Victoria to Ramsgate commuter train, and with possessing Semtex and ammonium nitrate explosives.

They also face charges of possessing two pistols and two assault rifles. They have denied all 11 charges but Mr Hayes refused in court yesterday to plead to the charges.

Mr Bevan told the jury that, between November 1992 and March 1993, London was the subject of an indiscriminate campaign of bombing by the IRA. The primary intention was to damage property, but the bombs were deliberately aimed not at military or political targets but at the general public. Although a number of people were injured, no one was killed, largely because some bombs failed to detonate properly. Mr Bevan added that the two were not alleged to be solely responsible - 'there is clear evidence others were involved'.

On 28 January last year, a Harrods employee took a telephone call from a man with an Irish accent, who said: 'This is the IRA.' He then gave a recognised code word, and claimed two devices had been planted. He told the employee: 'You have 30 minutes to clear the area.'

At 9.40 the bomb went off in a litter bin in the street outside, and four people were slightly hurt.

The jury was shown five video recordings from different cameras showing two men walking down the street soon before the warning was given, and one of the men, allegedly Mr Hayes, leaning over the bin where the bomb went off. On film, the pair walked away smiling.

Mr Bevan said that six days after the Harrods bomb, there was an explosion on the 9.05 Victoria to Ramsgate train. Fragments of a briefcase which had contained the 1lb bomb were found, along with remnants of it, including a timing mechanism, Semtex and batteries, all typical of IRA devices.

The men were arrested at Mr Hayes' home after police had released stills from the Harrods video. Shots were fired as police approached, Mr Bevan said. The pair were making 'hurried attempts to cover their tracks and remove a substantial cache of guns, ammunition and bomb-making equipment'.

The case continues today.