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Thursday, July 9, 1998 Published at 01:59 GMT 02:59 UK


Warrington bomber appeals

Warrington 1993: Major loss of life averted

One of the men jailed for an IRA plot to blow up the Warrington gasworks in 1993 is appealing, backed by one of the other men convicted of the attack.

John Kinsella from Nottingham was sentenced to 20 years, reduced to 16 on appeal, after he was found guilty of storing a bag containing guns and semtex, a plastic explosive used by the IRA, on an allotment near his home.

Gas works plot

[ image: Kinsella:
Kinsella: "Duped because of stupdity"
The IRA planned to blow up an entire gas works in Warrington, threatening many lives, but only managed to destroy one of the gas holders.

Police caught two of the bombers as they tried to flee the scene and it was later that Kinsella, an uncle of one of the suspects, was arrested in Nottingham.

Kinsella, a self-confessed petty thief, has protested his innocence for five years, saying he was duped into storing the bag which he believed contained stolen goods.

Campaigners for his release say that he cannot be a member of the IRA because his name has never appeared on official republican lists of their prisoners.

[ image: Allotment: Kinsella stored weaponry]
Allotment: Kinsella stored weaponry
Speaking to the BBC from prison, Kinsella said: "The most awful thing of the whole lot is that anyone could consider that I would hurt innocent people.

"It is not on, it is not something that I would do.

"I find it difficult to understand why anyone would blow up a gas works."

'Kinsella had no idea'

The campaign for John Kinsella's freedom received a major boost when it was backed by Pairic MacFhloinn, one of the IRA men jailed for the blast.

[ image: Audrey Kinsella:
Audrey Kinsella: "John would never hurt anyone"
In a statement to An Phoblacht, the Irish Republican newspaper, MacFhloinn said: "John Kinsella is totally innocent. He should be released immediately.

"He had absolutely no idea of what myself and my comrade were involved in."

Kinsella's wife, Audrey, said: "John was a petty criminal, but he wouldn't kill no-one and he wouldn't hurt no-one."

"As far as the IRA there's no way that John would have any connection with them at all, he always condemned them."

Paddy Loftus, member of the campaign, said: "John was completely duped, largely because of his own naivety and stupidity in allowing himself to handle stolen property from people he did not know."

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