Northern Ireland

Marian McGlinchey on trial over Massereene murder-linked phone

Old Bailey bomber Marian McGlinchey has gone on trial on a charge linked to the attack on Massereene Army barracks in which two soldiers were killed.

The court in Belfast was told the 59-year-old, also known as Marian Price, has links to "dissident republican activity".

She denies providing property for the purposes of terrorism.

She is accused of buying a mobile phone that was used in several calls claiming responsibility for the Real IRA attack.

Sappers Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar were shot dead as they collected a pizza delivery at the front of the County Antrim barracks on 7 March, 2009.

The pizza delivery man was also wounded in the attack. Two men accused of the murders were subsequently tried and acquitted.

Questioned

Prosecution counsel told Belfast Crown Court that the day after the fatal attack, a man made a number of phone calls to media outlets and the Samaritans claiming responsibility for the attack on behalf of the Real IRA.

She said that on 8 March, 2009 a woman was filmed on CCTV buying the pay-as-you-go mobile from a supermarket in Newtownabbey, adding it was the Crown's case that the woman seen buying the phone was Mrs McGlinchey.

The court heard that the phone was first used to claim responsibility one hour and five minutes after it was bought. The prosecution claimed it had been purchased "solely" for this purpose.

Mrs McGlinchey, from Stockman's Avenue, Belfast, was questioned about the purchase of the mobile phone in November of that year.

Prosecution counsel said the accused "declined to make any comment in relation to these circumstances and she didn't identify the person or persons to whom she must have passed this telephone".

The lawyer told the judge that given Mrs McGlinchey's "background and involvement in dissident republican activity", it was unlikely she was unaware that the phone would be used to "promote the objectives and aims of a terrorist organisation, in that it would be used to claim responsibility for a terrorist attack."

She also said the timing of the events was important in the case against the accused, saying the phone was bought the day after the attack and the first call was made just 24 minutes after the phone was topped up with credit.

The prosecution added that no other calls were made to or from the phone, other than those claiming responsibility.

Counsel said that despite various police interviews, Mrs McGlinchey has never given any reason for the purchase of the phone.

Mrs McGlinchey served a prison sentence along with her late sister Dolours Price for the 1973 IRA bomb attack on the Old Bailey in London.