Ex-DUP man jailed over pipe bomb attack

Ex-DUP man jailed over pipe bomb attack

An ex-DUP council hopeful will spend three years behind bars, after he was involved in a sectarian pipe bomb attack targeting his Catholic Polish neighbours.

John Smyth Jr was also ordered to remain on supervised licence for five years upon his release, for what the Judge described as a "despicable and cowardly act".

The 32-year-old, who previously tried to become a DUP councillor, admitted his part in making a pipe bomb which was found on the windowsill of a Polish couple's home in the Steeple estate in Antrim.

The South East Antrim Real UFF had originally accepted responsibility for the device which did not detonate during the attack in October 2011.

Prosecution lawyer Neil Connor said Smyth Jr was arrested after army bomb experts were able to dismantle the device and components analysed.

Many of the parts were forensically linked to materials found during searches at Smyth Jr's home.

Judge Desmond Marrinan said although it cannot be proved that Smyth planted the bomb, "he facilitated the making of the bomb in his own premises with the full knowledge of the evil purposes of the bombers".

Smyth Jr, from Rockfield Heights in Connor, had pledged to make Antrim a "better place for everyone to live" during his bid to become a councillor, less than six months before the attempted bomb attack.

But Judge Marrinan said the crime was motivated by "naked sectarianism".

The judge added: "This is a cancer that has run through this land for many years and must always be resisted by people of goodwill.

He said those who supported such attacks "must expect to receive heavy deterrent sentences as a warning to others who may be minded to resort to such behaviour in the future".

The Orange Order member had expressed "genuine regret and remorse" and now believes "what was done to this innocent young Polish couple was disgusting".

Taking into account the defence submissions that Smyth Jr was suffering from a mental condition that still needs "a powerful anti-depressant drug at a significant dosage" to treat it, the judge requested the parole period was dependent on Smyth Jr continuing to receive treatment.

Defence QC Peter Irvine had told the court that a suicidal Smyth was in a fragile mental state, adding that his client was "preyed upon by more sinister figures".

A similar device exploded after it was thrown through a window of his home, and Smyth Jr's parent's home was also targeted in a failed pipe bomb attack.

His father, John Smyth Snr was jailed in the late 1970s for UVF activities and served as a DUP councillor on Antrim Borough Council for more than a decade.

The DUP said John Smyth Jr has been suspended from the party, and is no longer a member.

© UTV

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