Parcel bomb pair who targeted Celtic boss jailed for five years

The actions of two men who sent parcel bombs to Celtic manager Neil Lennon and other prominent figures connected to the football club were described as “incomprehensible” as they were jailed for five years each yesterday.

Trevor Muirhead, 44, and Neil McKenzie, 42, were jailed for conspiring to assault Lennon, former MSP Trish Godman and the late QC Paul McBride, as well as people at the republican organisation Cairde Nah Eireann, by sending devices they believed were capable of exploding and causing severe injury.

McKenzie, from Saltcoats, Ayrshire, was also sentenced to 18 months for a separate charge of posting a hoax bomb to Lennon at Celtic Park to make him believe it was likely to explode, which will run concurrently with his five-year sentence.

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Muirhead, from Kilwinning, also Ayrshire, was cleared of the charge with a not proven verdict.

Both men were originally accused of a more serious charge of conspiring to murder their targets but it was thrown out a day before the trial concluded because of insufficient evidence.

At the High Court in Glasgow, judge Lord Turnbull said he could not “fathom” what was in their minds when they decided to send the packages.

He said: “It is incomprehensible that two such family men, in their 40s, would engage in such reckless and serious criminal conduct.

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“Even the sending of a package as a bomb hoax would always be a serious offence and would be bound to result in a custodial sentence – that is because of the widespread disruption and anxiety caused by such conduct.”

The judge said it was “obvious” he was not dealing with what would be considered “acts of terrorism”.

The jury heard that McKenzie told police he learned how to make a hoax bomb after seeing it on the 1980s TV show The A-Team.

Giving evidence at the trial, Lennon said he was left “very disturbed” after finding out he had been targeted. He said he “couldn’t believe the lengths some people will go to”.

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The plot centred on four suspicious packages, all of them non-viable, discovered last spring.

Both sentences will be backdated to May 13 last year when they were taken into custody, after police swooped on their homes in early-morning raids.

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