Northern Ireland

'Lone-wolf dissident' Connor admits terror charges

Christine Connor Image copyright Justin Kernoghan
Image caption Three of the charges relate to a pipe bomb attack on a police vehicle in May 2013

A Belfast woman described as a lone-wolf dissident republican posed as a Swedish model online to lure a man into helping with a plot to kill police officers.

Christine Connor, 31, pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of a police officer and other terror offences.

Three of the charges related to a homemade grenade thrown at a police vehicle in May 2013.

She had previously claimed to be "at war" with the PSNI.

Police confirmed that Connor lured Stuart Downes, from Shrewsbury, into her plot by using a fake online profile, including a fictitious name and photo that "bore no resemblance to her".

Mr Downes was arrested, questioned and charged with a series of offences linked to the May 2013 attack but took his own life last year.

Connor appeared at Belfast Crown Court on Wednesday and declined to stand when the charges were put to her.

When each one was read out, she said: "I am not guilty but on advice I will plead guilty."

She admitted:

  • Preparing terrorist acts between February 2013 and May 2013
  • Possessing explosives with intent to endanger life
  • Causing an explosion on two dates in May 2013 and attempting to murder a police officer

The court had heard that she had lured a police patrol to a house in the Crumlin Road area of north Belfast in May 2013 by claiming that a woman living there was in danger.

The PSNI said that Connor was "not aligned" to any dissident republican organisations.

"She was working on her own and she worked under a name that she used called United Struggle, but she was very much like a lone wolf," said Det Supt Kevin Geddes.

He said it had been a "hugely complex and unusual case" and that Connor had meticulously planned the attack on officers.

"Her deceitfulness knew no bounds," he added.

Connor was granted bail on medical grounds but told by the judge not to take that as an indication of the sentence he would impose.

She will be sentenced in June.

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