09/04/2003

Real IRA gang sentenced to 100 years in jail

Five men have been jailed for a total of 100 years for planning and subsequently launching a Real IRA bombing campaign in England.

The gang Robert Hulme, 23, (jailed for 20 years); his brother Aiden Hulme, 25, (20 years); Noel Maguire, 34, (22 years); James McCormack, 34, (22 years) and John Hannan, 19, (16 years), were convicted of the offences at the Old Bailey on Tuesday.

The Hulme brothers and Maguire had denied conspiring to cause explosions between 1 January and 15 November, 2001, as part of a Real IRA bombing campaign. However, McCormack and Hannan had already admitted the charge at an earlier hearing.

The men's first target was BBC Television Centre, west London, in March 2001, then subsequently in Ealing Broadway, west London, and finally in Queensway, Birmingham later in the year.

The bombs injured several people and caused damage costing millions of pounds.

The court heard that although there was no direct evidence any of the defendants had physically set the bombs, a wealth of evidence suggested they were part of the team responsible.

It is believed that a number of that bombing team may still be at large.

(MB)

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