Former soldier remanded over explosives

Published Friday, 24 January 2014
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A former soldier has been remanded in custody accused of having 10 improvised explosive devices at his Co Antrim home.

Former soldier remanded over explosives
Rankin was remanded in custody on Friday. (© UTV)

On Friday Belfast Magistrates' Court heard three blank-firing pistols were also discovered during a police search of John Rankin's property.

The 51-year-old was described as a self-confessed military and gun enthusiast now suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Rankin, from Edward Road in Whitehead, faces charges of having firearms and explosives in suspicious circumstances.

He is further accused of attempting to have possession of firearms.

Police went to his home on Thursday after learning he had allegedly ordered more pistols online, the court heard.

Opposing bail, a detective said the improvised explosive devices were found in an outside shed.

Rankin's solicitor argued there was no sinister motive for the having the items.

"He has a full employment record and a distinguished military career," the lawyer said.

"This isn't your typical person indicative of criminal behaviour."

It was claimed that the accused won't get proper psychiatric treatment for his PTSD while in custody.

During the hearing District Judge Fiona Bagnall expressed "grave concerns" over the information from police.

"He has further items he had ordered and were on their way," she noted.

"He clearly has some sort of obsession with guns and this type of paraphernalia."

Judge Bagnall also pointed out that the devices allegedly had shrapnel attached to them.

It was contended, however, that tape put round the cylinder meant any detonation would be straight up, rather than causing a sideways blast of shrapnel.

"The entire set of circumstances is totally bizarre," Rankin's lawyer added.

But refusing bail, the judge cited risks to the public and of re-offending. Rankin was remanded in custody to appear again by video-link on 21 February.

© UTV News
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7 Comments
John in Newtownabbey wrote (249 days ago):
With the latest trends on sentencing, this guy will get a medal!
d in belfast wrote (249 days ago):
why just suspicious circumstances and not intent..?
The Street in Banbridge wrote (249 days ago):
Of course no bail,had he been pira or a decident he wold have got bail.
Michael in Templepatrick wrote (250 days ago):
A self-confessed military and gun enthusiast suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder with a load of weapons in his house! He's a potential danger to his local community.
James in no comment wrote (250 days ago):
The are going to charge a mentally ill person and put him away because he is an ex-soldier. Fake weapons and a bunch of devices that are probably fireworks. He was probably going to use them out in a field somewhere. No danger too anyone. Republicans have real weapons and the courts let them off with murder this country is a joke and I dont know why the dissidents think everyone is against them when they are continuously allowed out of prison for series crimes. PSNI arresting flag protesters , while the media claims a bunch of old people with flags are more dangerous than bombs in the city centre. If your a republican you can do whatever you want basically.
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