Cardinal tells of bullets threat in run-up to visit by Pope

The leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland was sent bullets in the post before the papal visit last year.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien received the bullets at his home in Edinburgh, and described the move as “a horrific incitement to violence and deeply regrettable”.

Police said they could not comment on the allegations yesterday, which came as officers continue to investigate two parcel bombs sent to Celtic manager Neil Lennon in March.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The packages were intercepted at Royal Mail sorting offices, but two days later, a parcel bomb for former Labour MSP Trish Godman, a keen Celtic fan, was delivered to her constitency office, while outspoken fan Paul McBride QC has also been targeted.

The club, formed in 1888 by Irish Catholics, draws its support largely from Catholics.

Police said the parcel devices were “designed to cause real harm to the person who opened them”.

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.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He was the victim of a street attack in Glasgow in 2008 and earlier this year also received a package containing bullets. Celtic players Niall McGinn and Paddy McCourt, both from Northern Ireland, were also sent bullets.

Mr McBride is one of Scotland’s most-recognised QCs and a well-known Celtic fan and represented Lennon in his recent dispute with the Scottish Football Association.

Yesterday he described those behind the postal threats as “despicable and cowardly” and said it had made him angry, but not scared.

Police said they want to speak to three people who could have “vital information” about the attacks.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A young couple and a man with a dog were seen walking near a post box in Montgomerie Terrace, Kilwinning, Ayrshire, around 2pm on Friday April 15.

A Royal Mail worker intercepted the latest parcel bomb there which was addressed to Mr McBride. Police said the post box was a “focal point” of the investigation.

The man is in his 30s, wore glasses and a baseball cap and was walking a black and brown Staffordshire bull terrier-type dog.

The young couple were a man wearing a black hooded top and a woman described as small and slim. They were walking with a dark Staffordshire bull terrier-type puppy, thought to be around eight weeks old.

They were described by witnesses following house-to-house inquiries in the area.