01/08/2017

Former Royal Marine Jailed For Terrorism, Drug And Fraud Offences

A former marine from Larne has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for a number of terrorism offences.

Ciaran Maxwell, 32, pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey in February to a number of serious charges including the preparation of terrorist acts, possession of controlled drugs and possession of articles to be used for fraud.

Receiving a 23-year sentence, an Old Bailey judge told Maxwell he will spend five years on licence after his release.

Mr Maxwell was arrested in August last year after two terrorist arms hides were discovered near Larne. His DNA was discovered through an examination of the items found.

After being arrested, additional searches were carried out in both Northern Ireland and Devon, which uncovered a significant number of weapons hides across 14 locations.

Key finds include 14 pipe bombs (four of which have been deployed in Northern Ireland); two anti-personnel directional mines; two explosively formed projectiles (‘EFPs') one with explosive fill, one without; 29 complete firing systems and 33 initiators including two military initiators; 13 military ‘Igniter Safety Fuse Electric' initiators and three fully constructed improvised detonators and other components parts for IEDs. He also had a handgun stored in a hide in Northern Ireland.

In addition, police said Maxwell had gathered "sufficient quantities" of materials across Northern Ireland and England to make a further 19 pipe bombs, two anti-personnel directional mines, one EFP, three victim operated torch IEDs, 34 firing systems and 76 initiators.
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The PSNI said: "Police uncovered 397 rounds of ammunition subject to licensing restrictions, 137 blank rounds of ammunition, four British Army magazines, 29.27 metres of detonating cord, 5.263 metres of green burning fuse and ten timed power units, as well as large quantities of chemicals for use in manufacturing explosives and IEDs both in England and Northern Ireland.

"In England, police also discovered that Ciaran Maxwell had a significant cannabis production at one site from which he intended to produce cannabis for selling.

"And that he had taken images of other people's bank cards and identity documents and intended using them in online fraud."

Detective Chief Inspector Gillian Kearney, the PSNI's Senior Investigating Officer in this case, said it was important to acknowledge the members of the public who originally discovered the terrorist hides in both Carnfunnock and Capanagh forests.

"It is most important to acknowledge that all of this was only possible after members of the public came forward to the police with information alerting us to the presence of barrels at both Carnfunnock and Capanagh," he said.

"Ciaran Maxwell had developed a sophisticated operation to facilitate stockpiling weapons, explosives, munitions and chemicals and I want to thank these people for coming forward with this information; there is no doubt in my mind that their actions have saved lives."

DUP East Antrim MLA Gordon Lyons welcomed the sentencing of Mr Maxwell.

He said: "Mr Maxwell's deplorable actions were designed to cripple both people and vital infrastructure. His thorough plans to attack power and police stations were all part of a dissident Republican attempt to undermine the security situation here in Northern Ireland. As is evident from today's judgement these plans have failed.

"I would like to commend the vigilant members of the public who assisted the PSNI in bringing this terrorist to justice. Undoubtedly, their actions saved lives. As a result Mr Maxwell will now spend 18 years in prison for a very serious and sinister crime."

(LM/MH)

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