Co Antrim Republican sentenced over explosives back in jail after licence revoked

Niall Lehd (left) was mentioned during court hearings connected to British soldier Ciaran Maxwell (right) last year.

A Co Antrim man named during the trial of a British soldier convicted of possessing explosives has had his early release licence revoked.

It is understood Niall Lehd (28) was detained on the orders of secretary of state Karen Bradley on March 8.

A spokeswoman for the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) last night said: “It would not be appropriate to comment on individual cases.”

It is believed the father-of-three, who is a member of the little-known anti-agreement Irish Republican National Congress (IRNC), has since been returned to Maghaberry Prison.

He was arrested in 2013 after a bag containing high explosives were found on a doorstep in Larne.

The haul included DDNP (Diazodinitrophenol), a military grade explosive never previously discovered in the north.

In 2014 he was sentenced to six years after pleading guilty to possessing explosives and having a firearm or ammunition in suspicious circumstances.

Half his sentence was to be served on licence.

A judge said he did not consider Lehd to be dangerous and said there was “more of a risk to yourself than to others”.

Several references were also made to Lehd during court hearings connected to British soldier Ciaran Maxwell last year.

Maxwell, who was a member of the Royal Marines, was sentenced to 18 years after he pleaded guilty to storing explosives in the north of England and at hides near Larne in Co Antrim.

The haul included 14 pipe bombs, anti-personnel mines, two explosively formed projectiles (EFPs) and other component parts.

The Irish News understands the former British soldier believed he had supplied the explosives for use by the Continuity IRA.

Lehd was arrested in August 2016, the same month as Maxwell, and later released.

Lehd’s solicitor Aiden Carlin last night said he has been instructed to “challenge the lawfulness, necessity and proportionality of the Secretary of State’s decision to recall Niall Lehd to prison”.

“Our instructions are that since his release from prison two years ago Niall Lehd has positively contributed to his family and community. He has not been charged with any new offence,” he said.

“We intend to challenge the lawfulness, necessity and proportionality of the decision to recall Niall Lehd to prison.”

In a statement posted on a Facebook page set up to highlight his case Lehd said that after his release he set about rebuilding a life for himself, his partner and children.

“I have been given no reason why it has been seen fit to take a father away from his children the youngest being 18-months-old,” he said.

“It’s not just me but my family, friends and comrades who suffer at the hands of British internment.”

With many thanks to: The Irish News for the origional story.

UVF feud escalates as woman and her son’s home is petrol bomb attack.

TWO people have escaped injury in a morning petrol bomb attack on a house in Larne, believed to be connected with the ongoing UVF feud. It is the lateslatest in a string of incidents.

The petrol bomb was thrown through the front window of the house in the Walnut Park area of the Co Antrim town at about 8am on Friday.

An RUC/PSNI Detective Chief Inspector Dunny McCubbin said: “The device broke the window, ending up in the living room of the property. 
“North of Ireland Fire Service personnel attended and extinguished a fire and made the device safe.

“Two occupants who were in the house at the time of the incident were not injured.”

DCI McCubbin added that a strong line of enquiry is that the attack is linked to a string of recent incidents in the Larne area.


‘Looking back, a lot of Catholic pubs were targeted. This is just a bad reminder of that – Alex Mackey.

A LOYALIST paramilitary warning to publicans not to serve Catholics is reminiscent to a very sinister period during the Troubles, a Sinn Fein MLA has said.

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Alex Mackey spoke out about the threat in Larne, Co Antrim, after unearthing a piece of Troubles-related memorabilia – a flyer which was once distributed warning Protestants not to drink in Catholic bars because to do so could “seriously damage your health”. Mr MMackey said the leaflet found in a Protestant bar in the Ravenhill Road area of east Belfast was given to him in 1972. He said it had been distrbuted at a time when Catholic bars were being targeted by loyalist paramilitaries, resulting in murders and soundings in bomb and gun attacks. Mr Maskey said the leaflets, used as beer mats, were issued to Protestants to warn them not to frequent Catholic bars because they might be bombed.

Loyalist paramilitaries are said to have visited at least five bars in Larne last Saturday to warn staff not to serve Catholics. The move led some publicans to consider increasing security at their premises and prompted another Sinn Fein MLA to urge police to “look at Larne as a priority”. Mr Maskey said the threat was “reminiscent of a very sinister period, whenever people were being killed in bombs and shooting attacks on bars”. The latest warnings were “a twist” on the decades-old leaflet, he said. Mr Mackey said it was a “sickening reminder” of the past when bars were targeted “because of the religion of patrons and owners”. “Looking back, a lot of Catholic pubs were targeted,” he said. “There was a campaign on that sector. This is just a bad reminder of that.”

With many thanks to : Marie Louise McCrory, The Irish News.


LOYALIST paramilitaries are said to have warned some Larne publicans not to serve Catholics. Sinn Fein MLA Oliver McMullan said at least five bars in the Co An trim town had been visited on Saturday by loyalist paramilitaries who issued the warnings.


Mr McMullan urged police to “look at Larne as a priority” after visits which he said had led some publicans to debate increasing security.He said he was “concerned that the ongoing tensions between unionist paramilitaries in the Larne area is now manifesting itself in a sectarian campaign against local Catholics”. “Sime of the pubs are now considering introducing buzzer-style entrances to protect their premises,” Mr McMullan said. “This would be a retrograde step back into the days of the conflict and bar ownes should not be put under this pressure. “At a time when people are attemping to pomote Larne we see that unionist paramilitaries are determined to put their stamp on the town, making it an unwelcome place for many people.” Chief Inspector John Magill said police were “awre of recent allegations concerning intimidation in Larne town centre”. “Police are determined to tackle criminality including intimidation,” he said. “We are committed to protecting the community against criminal elements but the bottom line is that we need the assistance of the community so I would again ask that people come forward and help with our enquries.”

With many thanks to : Marie Louise McCrory, The Irish News.