Dissident letter ‘intercepted by prison’

Published Monday, 09 June 2014
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A 38-year-old man has appeared in court in Londonderry charged with directing terrorism and membership of the IRA, after a letter was intercepted by prison staff.

Police told the city's magistrates' court on Monday that they believe Thomas Ashe Mellon from Rathmore Road in the city is a prominent member of the New IRA.

Mellon, who was detained in north Belfast on Friday, was charged after a letter written on cigarette papers and destined for a convicted dissident terrorist, was intercepted on a man named only as Mr O by staff at Maghaberry Prison.

A Detective Constable said evidence from a handwriting expert and a DNA examination of the letter strongly suggests Mellon was the author.

The contents of the letter were read to the court. It said: "To determine who is the Brussel [tout] is very hard."

The letter went on to say: "I will not allow any dual army operating along with the IRA without us knowing about it.

The letter also warned that republican prisoners "should not engage in loose talk" and was signed "take care T".

The Detective Constable said police can connect Mellon to the charges and said the letter is evidence that he holds a leadership position within the IRA.

However, Mellon's solicitor described the evidence against him as weak.

He said the DNA evidence does not prove that Mellon was the author and said the letter was more of a rant which did not contain anything in which was not directing anyone to do anything.

Police are also treating Mr O as a suspect in the case and are currently searching for him.

Mellon gave the thumbs up to a large group of supporters while he was in the dock but refused to recognise the court.

District Judge Barney McElhome rejected his bail application.

Supporters clapped and cheered outside the courthouse as Mellon was driven into custody.

He will appear before the court again via videolink next month.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
andy conn in Waterside wrote (231 days ago):
Woops, you silly boy. On a poaitive note though, at least he will be able to speak to the guy face to face now.
gerard in belfast wrote (232 days ago):
yes its great they r getting these people of the streets these republican dissidents but what about the loyalists dissidents police say uvf and uda are still on there ceasefires even low we all know they have killed there own people they are not out trying to kill the police so its ok for them to sell killer drugs how many people in the last year has died from them drugs the uda have sold a hell of a lot more than dissidents have killed police so on 1 hand good job but on the other no 1 should be above the law even if u do work for the police so go out and clean up the hole place both sides are as bad take them all and put them in jail before anyone else is killed are found dead because off dissidents off both sides
what a fool in belfast wrote (232 days ago):
not the smartest thing to do then try and deny it? he better watch out for loose talk.
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