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Tuesday, December 16, 1997 Published at 19:03 GMT



UK

Three convicted of IRA bomb plot
image: [ Court told gang had access to tons of explosives ]
Court told gang had access to tons of explosives


BBC Correspondent Clarence Mitchell explains how the men were captured (3'50")
Three men have been found guilty of plotting an IRA bombing campaign in and around London last year.

They were convicted of conspiring to cause explosions and of possessing explosives.

Brian McHugh, said to be the commander of the gang, was jailed for 25 years. Patrick Kelly was sentenced to 20 years and James Murphy was given 17 years.


[ image: Patrick Kelly: Sentenced to 20 years]
Patrick Kelly: Sentenced to 20 years
A fourth man, Michael Phillips, was cleared by the jury of the same charges after more than 20 hours of deliberations.

During the six-week trial, the court at the Old Bailey in London heard how anti-terror units conducted a sophisticated surveillance operation to thwart the mainland bombing campaign.


[ image: Men arrested in raid in west London]
Men arrested in raid in west London
The jury was told how a member of the IRA unit, Diarmuid O'Neill, 27, was shot dead when police foiled the bomb plot in September 1996 in Hammersmith, west London as the team was making its final preparations.

Security forces believed that, if successful, the planned blitz would have matched the explosive power of that summer's bomb which devastated Manchester centre.

The gang had access to many tons of explosives and was using a secure storage unit in north London as a bomb factory, the court heard.








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