Bicycle tube "a perfect physical fit"

A piece of a bicycle tube around a box of ammunition found in an arms dump in Co Wexford formed "a perfect physical fit" with a piece of tube found at the workshop of a man accused of membership of an illegal organisation, the Special Criminal Court heard today.

A piece of a bicycle tube around a box of ammunition found in an arms dump in Co Wexford formed "a perfect physical fit" with a piece of tube found at the workshop of a man accused of membership of an illegal organisation, the Special Criminal Court heard today.

Thomas ('Tom') Redmond, (aged 62), with addresses at The Grove, Clonard, Co Wexford and The Gate Post, Forth Commons, Co Wexford has pleaded not guilty to membership of an illegal organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA on October 1, 1999.

Garda ballistics officers, Detective Garda Shane Henry and Detective Sergeant Patrick Ennis have linked metal parts found at Mr Redmond's home and workshop to homemade grenade and rocket launchers uncovered in arms finds at Killellan, Castlebridge and Shelmalier Commons, Co Wexford on the October 4 - 5, 1999.

The find at Killellan also included two semi-automatic pistols with magazines and ammunition, a Smith & Wesson revolver and 1.7 kilos of semtex.

In evidence yesterday, Det Sgt Patrick Ennis said that 13 rounds of the ammunition were in a small cardboard box. A piece of the inner tube of a bicycle wheel acted as a rubber band holding the box closed.

When he examined the tube piece he concluded that it "formed a perfect physical fit" with another cut piece of bicycle tube found in Thomas Redmond's workshop at the Gate Post, Forth Commons. A number of irregularities in the edges of both of the tube pieces were "a perfect match" to each other, he said.

Using a rolled-up piece of paper, the detective demonstrated the fit in court. "These came from the same bicycle tube", he told Mr PJ McCarthy SC, prosecuting.

Det Sgt Ennis said he made a similar conclusion after comparing a piece of lagging pipe found in Mr Redmond's workshop with a small piece of lagging pipe found with an improvised grenade launcher in the Killellan arms find. The lagging pipe from the workshop "perfectly fits and is an exact match" to the piece found at Killellan, he said.

Cross-examined by Mr Hugh Hartnett SC, defending, Det Sgt Ennis agreed that he was relying on his eyes and a microscope to make his identification. "Without a doubt, they fit", he said.

He said he did not perform a tool mark test on the bicycle tube pieces because he was in no doubt about his findings. If there was any doubt, he could have carried out further tests, but he was satisfied that they were not necessary, he told counsel.

"There are abnormalities in the edges that match individually and which present to me no doubt that these were from the same source", he said.

The trial continues tomorrow.

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