Glasgow & West Scotland

Two men in court over Neil Lennon 'parcel bombs'

Neil Lennon, Trish Godman and Paul McBride QC
Image caption Neil Lennon, Trish Godman and Paul McBride all received suspect packages

Two men are to stand trial accused of a plot to kill Celtic manager Neil Lennon and two fans of the club.

Trevor Muirhead, 43, and Neil McKenzie, 42, are alleged to have sent suspected parcel bombs to Mr Lennon, leading QC Paul McBride and ex-MSP Trish Godman.

The packages are said to have contained a potentially deadly mixture of nails, an explosive substance or petrol.

The accused entered not guilty pleas at the High Court in Glasgow. A trial date was set for 21 November.

During a preliminary hearing, the court heard how Mr Muirhead and Mr McKenzie are alleged to have planned to "assault and murder" their intended victims between 1 March and 15 April this year as part of a sectarian conspiracy.

Cream peroxide

It is claimed that at two shops in Stevenston, North Ayrshire, - including a B&Q store - they bought nails, envelopes, travel bottles, digital sports watches and other items.

They are said to have acquired cream peroxide after inducing another man to buy it on behalf of Gemma Muirhead.

The pair are then accused of posting a package to Neil Lennon at Celtic's training HQ in Lennoxtown, East Dunbartonshire.

A plastic bottle with wires attached was said to have contained Triacetone Triperoxide, a plastic bag holding nails and a watch component.

It is claimed Mr Muirhead and Mr McKenzie believed it to have been an improvised explosive device (IED) capable of causing "severe injury and death".

Similar packages are alleged to have been sent to Mr Lennon's QC Mr McBride at the Advocates' Library in Parliament House, Edinburgh, and to former politician Ms Godman at an address in Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire.

The charge claims the pair sent another suspected bomb to the offices of Cairde Na h'√Čireann (Friends of Ireland) in Gallowgate, Glasgow.

Mr Muirhead and Mr McKenzie face an alternative allegation contrary to the Explosive Substances Act of "unlawfully and maliciously conspiring" to endanger life or cause serious injury.

Prejudice charge

The pair face a separate allegation of dispatching an item on 3 March to Neil Lennon at Celtic Park with the intention of inducing him to believe that it would "explode or ignite".

All the accusations are said to have been aggravated by religious prejudice.

The men are further accused on 9 May in Kilwinning, North Ayrshire, of threatening to plant an IED outside a police station knowing the bomb allegations were being investigated.

They are then charged with attempting to defeat the ends of justice by disposing of a quantity of cream peroxide and wiring at a place in Ayrshire.

Mr Muirhead and Mr McKenzie are finally alleged to have made and possessed Triacetone Triperoxide with the intent to endanger life.

Mr Muirhead's counsel Derrick Nelson and Lorenzo Alonzi, defending Mr McKenzie, entered not guilty pleas on their behalf.

Judge Lord Brodie adjourned the hearing and set a trial date for 21 November this year. The case is expected to last up to three weeks.