‘Cowardly’ parcel bomber condemned

POLICE condemned as “despicable and cowardly” the person who sent parcel bombs to Celtic manager Neil Lennon and two prominent fans of the club.

Strathclyde Police said the two packages sent to Lennon, and others to lawyer Paul McBride QC and former Scottish MP Trish Godman, were “designed to cause real harm to the person who opened them”.

Two of the four parcels were intercepted at Royal Mail sorting offices in the west of Scotland last month, both addressed to the Celtic manager. The first one was found in Saltcoats, Ayrshire, on March 4 and the second was intercepted on March 26 in Kirkintilloch, East Dunbartonshire.

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Two days later a parcel for Ms Godman, former deputy presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament, was delivered to her constituency office.

The most recent package was intercepted last Friday at a post box in Montgomerie Terrace in Kilwinning, Ayrshire, addressed to Mr McBride, who represented Lennon at Hampden during his recent dispute with the Scottish Football Association (SFA).

Det Supt John Mitchell said sending the packages was a “despicable and cowardly act”, adding that the initial assessment was that the packages may have been a hoax but confirmed that after forensic examination they are being treated as “viable devices”.

Mr Mitchell said: “They were definitely capable of causing significant harm and injury to individuals if they had opened them.

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“It is important to say that there is no doubt that there is someone out there with information that can assist us and take this inquiry forward, the quicker the better.”

Speaking at a Press conference at Strathclyde Police’s Glasgow headquarters, Chief Supt Ruaraidh Nicolson urged people who had a “high profile in the media” to be “vigilant” but insisted the general public was not at risk.

Lennon, 39, has endured threats and abuse throughout his career and was forced to retire from representing Northern Ireland in international football after claiming he had received death threats from a paramilitary group.