Discharged Marine plotted to `kill police officers` with target list of PSNI building and NCA HQ
A serviceman-turned-dissident republican had satellite map images of targets including police buildings with a “blast radius put on top of it”, a court heard.
A serviceman-turned-dissident republican had satellite map images of targets including police buildings with a “blast radius put on top of it”, a court heard. Ex-Royal Marine Ciaran Maxwell compiled a library of terrorism documents, bought chemicals and components and manufactured explosives and devices. The Old Bailey was told that one of his plans involved planting hoax devices along with secondary live bombs to “kill police officers”. His haul also included anti-personnel mines, mortars, ammunition and 14 pipe bombs four of which were deployed in purpose-built hides in Northern Ireland and England. `Potential` terror targets included the National Crime Agency`s headquarters in London and Larne police station in the province. Chemicals and materials to make more bombs, as well as an adapted Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) pass card, a PSNI uniform and a police stab-proof vest were found in the barrels and buckets buried in the ground. In addition, he had street maps of military barracks, a council building, plans of intended targets plus details of the addresses of HMRC offices in Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Office in Westminster. Maxwell, originally from Larne in County Antrim, pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to preparation of terrorist acts between January 2011 and August last year, possessing images of bank cards for fraud and possessing cannabis with intent to supply, in February. Now discharged from the Royal Marines, he appeared in court by video-link from Woodhill Prison in Milton Keynes. He claimed after he was arrested on August 24 last year that he had “got in over his head” and had no intention of committing an act of terrorism or killing anyone. But at the beginning of a three-day sentencing hearing at the same court, prosecutor Richard Whittam QC said: “Mr Maxwell repeatedly accepted that the devices would be used by others for terrorist purposes. “For example, he agreed with the statement that the items were made for the Continuity IRA (CIRA) with the intention of attacking police and police stations.” He added: “Across 14 of the locations involved in the investigation, Mr Maxwell had in his possession, or had constructed, 14 pipe bombs. Of those, four have been deployed in Northern Ireland.” The court heard dissident republicans have carried out more than 160 terrorist attacks since 2010, involving tactics including the deployment of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) such as pipe bombs. Mr Whittam said: “Whilst attacks are mainly directed at members of the police, military and prison service, the nature of the attacks leaves members of the public at risk. “All of the groups remain persistent in their intention to kill and seriously injure.” The court heard Maxwell was a serving Royal Marine Commando at the time of the offences, having enlisted on September 27, 2010. He joined 40 Commando at Norton Manor Camp in Taunton the following year as a rifleman, undertaking some duties in the United States. Maxwell was also deployed in the UK but never in Northern Ireland, said Mr Whittam. “Between January 1, 2011 and August 24, 2016, Mr Maxwell researched the manufacture and construction of explosives, acquired the items he needed to make explosive devices and constructed the devices,” he said. “He stored the items he needed to make the devices, the devices themselves, ammunition, weapons, tools and resources in hides across England and Northern Ireland. “He engaged in research to create a library of maps, plans and lists of potential targets for a terrorist attack.” Along with the 14 pipe bombs, Maxwell also concealed two anti-personnel directional mines, two explosively formed projectiles (EFPs), 29 complete firing systems, 33 initiators including two military initiators, 13 military “Igniter Safety Fuze Electric” initiators, three fully constructed improvised detonators and other component parts for IEDs. The court heard he had hoarded more materials and chemicals to make explosives, as well as a replic