Suspect's phone was in Omagh at time of bombing, court hears

Records show a mobile phone belonging to Colm Murphy was in Omagh on the day a car bomb in the town killed 29 people, the Special Criminal Court was told today.

Evidence was being heard on the 18th day of Mr Murphy’s trial, who is accused of conspiring with another person to cause an explosion likely to endanger life or cause serious injury to property in the State or elsewhere between August 13 and 16, 1998.

The 57-year-old, a native of Co Armagh but with an address at Jordan's Corner, Ravensdale, Co Louth has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

It is the prosecution’s claim that Mr Murphy lent two mobile phones to a man who was involved in transporting the car bomb from Dundalk in Co Louth to Omagh, Co Tyrone where it exploded on the afternoon of August 15, 1998.

Raymond Clive Green, an investigations manager with Vodafone in the UK, told Mr Tom O’Connell SC, prosecuting, that he provided detectives with information relating to two phones, one of which belonged to Colm Murphy.

Mr Green told the special three-judge, non-jury court that he had analysed the activity of the two phones on the day of the Omagh bombing, and that this had revealed a series of short phone calls between both mobiles on the afternoon in question.

He said a phone call was made from Mr Murphy’s mobile at 1.57pm on August 15, 1998, and that the base site for this call was a mast located at Bridge Street in Omagh town.

The court also heard that a phone call was received by Colm Murphy’s mobile from the other phone in question at 2.09pm and that this had originated through the Omagh mast.

The Special Criminal Court has already heard that coverage provided by the Omagh mast does not extend further than five kilometres.

Details were also given to the court which indicated the two phones had been at various locations in Tyrone and Monaghan that afternoon.

Under cross-examination from counsel for Mr Murphy, Mr Green said there were times when a call would be routed through a site, different to that through which it would normally go.

However he said there “was no reason” why calls on August 15, 1998 would have been dealt with by different masks and that there were no reports of any sites being down that afternoon.

The trial was adjourned until Friday.

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