Lennon suspect package 'non-viable'

Celtic FC manager Neil Lennon was sent a suspect package containing more than 200 separate nails, a Scottish court heard today.

Celtic FC manager Neil Lennon was sent a suspect package containing more than 200 separate nails, a Scottish court heard today.

But the device, sent to Celtic Park, contained no explosives and was a “totally non-viable device”, a trial at the High Court in Glasgow was told.

Two men are on trial accused of conspiring to assault and murder Mr Lennon as well as the late Paul McBride QC, former MSP Trish Godman and various people inside the Glasgow premises of Irish Republican organisation Cairde Na hÉireann by sending what they believed were improvised explosives devices to them through the post.

Trevor Muirhead (aged 43) and Neil McKenzie (aged 42) are also accused of sending Mr Lennon a package with the intention of making him think it was likely to explode or ignite.

They face an alternative charge of “unlawfully and maliciously” conspiring to cause an explosion likely to endanger life.

They deny all the charges against them.

The package sent to Celtic Park was the first of five suspect parcels to be intercepted on their way to Mr Lennon and the high-profile supporters of the club.

Explosives expert Kevin Sanders, who analysed the parcel on behalf of Strathclyde Police, said there were 248 nails inside it.

He said the nails found in the parcel were “similar” in size and dimension to those inside a package addressed to the late Paul McBride QC at the Advocate’s Library in Edinburgh.

Advocate Depute Tim Niven-Smith asked him if there were “substantially more” nails in the Celtic Park package than the others intercepted.

He replied: “Yes. 248.”

He went on: “It contained no explosives at all. In my view, it was a totally non-viable device.”

Mr Niven-Smith asked him if all the devices “irrespective of their components” were “non-viable in terms of improvised explosive devices”.

He replied: “Yes.”

The prosecutor asked him: “Is that because they lacked specific vital component parts in order to make them viable devices?”

He replied: “Yes.”

The trial, before Lord Turnbull, continues.

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