Lennon 'murder plot' jury shown package

A jury in the trial of two men accused of plotting to murder Neil Lennon have today been shown pictures of the contents of a suspicious package addressed to the Celtic FC manager.

A jury in the trial of two men accused of plotting to murder Neil Lennon have today been shown pictures of the contents of a suspicious package addressed to the Celtic FC manager.

Trevor Muirhead (aged 43) and Neil McKenzie (aged 42) are accused of conspiring to kill Lennon and other high-profile supporters of the club, including Trish Godman MSP and lawyer Paul McBride QC, as well as various people in the premises of Irish Nationalist group Cairde Na Heireann in Glasgow, by sending improvised explosive devices to them.

The pair are alleged to have sent Lennon a package they believed was an improvised explosive device, capable of igniting and exploding and of causing severe injury and death to another person.

It is further alleged the package, sent to Lennon at Celtic's training centre in Lennoxtown, East Dunbartonshire, contained a plastic bottle containing the substance tri-acetone tri-peroxide with a wire attached and a plastic bag containing a bag of nails and a watch component.

Muirhead, from Kilwinning in Ayrshire, and McKenzie, from Saltcoats, Ayrshire, are also charged with sending similar devices to Ms Godman, at an address in Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire, and to Cairde Na Heireann.

It is alleged the package sent to Mr McBride at Advocate's Library, Parliament House, Edinburgh, comprised a plastic bottle containing petrol, with a wire attached, a plastic glove, nails and a watch component.

They are accused of sending the devices with the intention that the contents would ignite and explode when opened, causing severe injury and death to the recipients.

The two men face an alternative charge that they sent a package to Lennon at Celtic Park on March 3 or 4, intending him to think it was likely to "explode or ignite".

At the trial, which started at the High Court in Glasgow today, Royal Mail postman Andrew Brown told how he became suspicious of a package he picked up from a post box on Gladstone Road, Saltcoats, on Friday March 4 last year.

He said something about the brown envelope, addressed to Lennon at Celtic Park, Glasgow, "didn't feel right".

Mr Brown, 27, told the court: "When I felt it, there were different textures. It just didn't feel right. There were sharp edges."

The postman said he was aware of a recent "scuffle" which had taken place at an Old Firm match between Lennon and the now Rangers manager Ally McCoist.

He said the package stood out because it was addressed to Lennon, and that he reported it to his supervisors Mark McGuire and Andrew Easton when he arrived back at the Saltcoats sorting office.

Mr Easton, Royal Mail line manager, and Mr McGuire, delivery manager, were also called to give evidence.

Mr Easton said the contents of the package "felt like a bag of nails" and Mr McGuire told the court it was "particularly weighty".

Mr McGuire said: "There appeared to be something like a nail protruding from it."

Police were called and the building was evacuated as specialist officers from Springburn Police Office were drafted in to inspect the package.

The jury of 11 women and four men were shown the components: a quantity of a dark resinous substance with two nails embedded in it, a white digital device with a clock face, a black wire which was said to be attached to the seal of the envelope and the resinous substance and a quantity of nails.

The court heard that the suspicious package was later found to be a "hoax nail bomb" and it was deemed safe to return to the post office.

More in this section

IE_180_logo
Price info

Subscribe to unlock unlimited digital access.
Cancel anytime.

Terms and conditions apply

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox