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21/09/2017

Men Jailed For Planting Bomb Ahead Of PSNI Recruitment Event

Two men who planted a bomb in the car park of a hotel in L'Derry ahead of a PSNI recruitment event have been sentenced to 10 years.

Darren Poleon, 43, and Brian Walsh, 35, pleaded guilty earlier this year to possession of explosives with intent to endanger life or cause serious injury to property and possession of articles for use in terrorism.

They each received a sentence of five years in custody and five years on licence.

Detective Chief Inspector Gillian Kearney, from PSNI's Serious Crime Branch, said: "These two men planted a viable explosive device in the grounds of a hotel ahead of a PSNI recruitment event at the Waterfoot Hotel on October 9. Their intention was undoubtedly to murder and seriously injure people as well as to deter people from pursuing a career in policing. They had no regard for the safety of anyone staying in or visiting this popular hotel. I'm thankful we were able to thwart their efforts as I have no doubt that if the device had exploded people would have been killed or at the very least seriously injured.

"We believe the device was placed in the car park on the Tuesday evening and it was not found until the Friday. The device was made from a fire extinguisher filled with 1.5kg of explosives, and was found along with a detonating system.

"Poleon and Walsh were initially arrested by police in the Drumragh Avenue area of Omagh on Tuesday 06 October 2015 after the Ford Focus car they were travelling in was seen being driven erratically.
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"When police searched the car they found a number of items including bolt cutters, walkie-talkies, a toy gun, balaclavas, gloves and two mobile phones. A SAT NAV system was also recovered from the car for analysis. The men were arrested at this time on suspicion of going equipped for burglary and possession of a firearm or imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and were later bailed to return to Omagh Police Station in December."

Detective Chief Inspector Kearney added: "During our enquiries we analysed the SAT NAV system recovered from the car Poleon and Walsh had been travelling in. This provided a link between the car and the three recruitment venues. The car was found to have travelled from Co. Meath to the Waterfoot Hotel on 6th October, when officers believe the device was left in the grounds of the hotel, before travelling onwards to the Strule Civic Centre in Omagh were they were arrested later that night. Further evidence was also gathered to suggest Poleon had made a reservation to stay at the Waterfoot Hotel on Friday 9th October, when police believe an attempt would have been made to move the device inside the hotel building from its position in the grounds.

"Both men were arrested under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act on 2nd December 2015 and subsequently charged the following day. Despite initially pleading not guilty they changed their pleas to guilty.

"I am pleased that the threat posed by these two dangerous individuals has been removed and they are now in prison."

(CD)

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