Saturday 24 March 2018

Two guilty of posting parcel bomb to Celtic boss Lennon

TWO men have been convicted of conspiring to assault Celtic manager Neil Lennon and other high profile supporters of the club in a parcel bomb plot.

Trevor Muirhead and Neil McKenzie sent devices they believed were capable of exploding to the football boss, former Scottish politician Trish Godman and the late Paul McBride, as well as the republican organisation Cairde na hEireann, in March and April last year.

McKenzie was also convicted of posting an item to Lennon at Celtic Park with the intention of making him believe it was likely to explode or ignite.

Muirhead was cleared of this charge after the jury returned a not proven verdict.

A jury took almost two and a half hours to find the pair guilty by majority verdict of the conspiracy to assault charge and McKenzie by unanimous verdict for sending another suspicious package to Lennon, following a five-week trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

Muirhead (44) and McKenzie (42), both from Ayrshire in Scotland, were originally accused of conspiracy to murder but the charge was thrown out yesterday due to insufficient evidence.

Police mounted an "absolute manhunt" to catch the two men who sent suspect packages to Celtic manager Neil Lennon and other club supporters.

Detectives used covert surveillance, trawled CCTV footage and examined shop receipts to catch Muirhead and McKenzie.

Officers visited countless DIY stores to try to discover where objects such as nails, peroxide and envelopes were bought.

A turning point came when police found records of a transaction at B&M Stores in Ayrshire on April 14 last year when a customer bought bubble envelopes, plastic travel bottles and three watches, as well as a red luggage case.

It was the day before a package addressed to the late lawyer Paul McBride was found in a postbox. The investigating officers were able to check CCTV from the store to identify the person who bought the items.

Other packages were sent to former Labour MSP Trish Godman and various people in the premises of republican group Cairde na hEireann.

Liam Murphy, district procurator fiscal said: "Trevor Muirhead and Neil McKenzie are two very dangerous individuals. What they did was embark on a criminal course of conduct by sending devices through the postal service to prominent individuals. That's a very dangerous act."


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