Viable bomb under car of policeman

Published Sunday, 30 December 2012
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Detectives are investigating the attempted murder of a serving police officer in east Belfast after a viable booby trap bomb was discovered under his car.

Viable bomb under car of policeman
The scene on Sunday evening. (© Presseye)

Dissident republicans have been blamed for planting the device, which was found outside the policeman's home in the Upper Newtownards Road area at around 2pm on Sunday.

Officers believe the bomb was placed at some time in the past 48 hours and said it was "clearly intended to kill".

ACC George Hamilton said: "It is very fortunate that this device was detected before it exploded and that no one was killed or seriously injured.

"It was clearly intended to kill the police officer. His family and neighbours in the vicinity were also put at risk of serious harm.

Our belief is that this attempted murder was carried by those opposed to peace from within Dissident Republicanism.

ACC George Hamilton

"They don't care who they attack, they don't care who they kill. They are simply anti-peace and determined to carry on bringing pain and devastation to families and communities by maiming and killing," ACC Hamilton added.

Several homes were evacuated in the Upper Newtownards Road area as army bomb squad officers dealt with the device on Sunday.

The Upper Newtownards Road, which was closed to traffic between the Knock Road junction and Cabin Hill Park, has now reopened.

The Police Federation for Northern Ireland said the attack showed a "total disregard for the life of the officer and his family" and urged police officers to check their cars.

They said the officer, his wife and two children escaped the "terror bid" thanks to his vigilance.

The Chair of the Policing Board has also condemned the bomb attack.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the officer and his family today as they deal with what could have been a very serious incident," Brian Rea said.

East Belfast UUP MLA Michael Copeland called the attack a "thoughtless act of premeditated violence."

He told UTV: "It seems that an under car booby trap or a device of some sort has been found beneath a car rumoured to belong to a police officer.

"A device like that doesn't know who's in the vehicle. It could be his wife, children or grandchildren - it's a thoughtless act of premeditated violence."

Local DUP MLA Robin Newton said the only intention of those who placed the device was murder.

The thugs who carry out this type of an action are rejected by the vast majority of the community as being wicked and evil who care nothing for innocent life.

Robin Newton

"I pay tribute to the PSNI officers and the bomb squad officers who risked their lives to make the area safe not only for the intended victim but all who live in close proximity," Mr Newton added.

East Belfast Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle said: "My immediate thoughts and prayers are with the officer and family directly affected by this cowardly and futile act and the people working to restore safety to all residents in the area.

"Those behind this incident have absolutely nothing to offer the local community and are only intent on taking Northern Ireland back to a time of deep division through violent attacks."

SDLP Policing Board member Conall McDevitt condemned what he described as a "cynical and deplorable" attempt to target an officer.

He said: "Those seeking to target police officers are undermining not only the stated will of the people of Ireland who have long since rejected violence, but also the desire for a new beginning for policing in the North, which is shared by the majority of citizens."

Shadow Secretary of State for NI, Vernon Coaker MP, said: "An attack on the police is an attack on the entire community. The bravery of the PSNI is in stark contrast to the actions of those who planted a bomb under this family's car just days after Christmas."

Police have appealed for anyone with information to get in touch.

ACC George Hamilton said: "Anyone who was in the area of the Upper Newtownards Road and witnessed any unusual activity in or around this area between the junction of Cabinhill Park and the Knock Road between Friday afternoon and lunch time today is asked to contact detectives on 0845 600 8000."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
61 Comments
Lee in Belfast wrote (717 days ago):
republican peace-makers strike again.. poor us poor us !!
Realist in England wrote (718 days ago):
Jonny - that is not only wrong but completely unfair and offensive. I have no idea of your political outlook (I know BT14 covers a nationalist area where I have some family but it almost certainly also covers some unionist places too). Whatever your opinion on something, throwing in some banal ad hominem hyperbole about the Nazis never adds anything meaningful to your argument; it only makes you appear puerile. Be in no doubt - if you were in Nazi Germany and said something of which the state did not approve, you would not have been ignored - you would have been killed. UTV sometimes fail to publish things I write but I never feel offended or persecuted by that (admittedly, I do sometimes feel surprised as I never intentionally break their site rules). They are only doing their job and trying to prevent offensive and/or potentially illegal (libelous/inciteful/etc.) material being published, thereby opening UTV to prosecution. Paradoxically, they may even be preventing YOU from opening yourself to prosecution. Western Europe isn't the USA - freedom of expression rightly comes with responsibilities here and is limited by other laws. Do you want to allow race riots, etc. just to protect the 'right' of some bigoted moron to burn Qu'rans on YouTube? UTV didn't publish your comment, live with it and lay off the moderators.
conair in belfast wrote (718 days ago):
Iain in Belfast..You have lost me..Can you show just one example from any of my posts were i have attempted to deflect the story? I will say it again slowly so you might understand better.I deplore ALL violence committed by ALL Loyalist and Republicans groups Regardless of which flag of convenience they are using now is that really hard to comprehend? I have noticed on the site that the P.U.L community seem to go into defense mode when you point out the many atrocities committed by loyalist terrorists over the years on both the nationalist communities and unionist communities, Loyalists seem to be trying to re write history and delete the part they played in the mass murders of the people of this country.
Jonny M in BT14 wrote (718 days ago):
Did my previous post not meet the criteria of what you're permitted to display? Wee bit too close for comfort to the truth? So much for freedom of speech. You lot would have done well in Nazi Germany.
Nick Kent in Belfast wrote (718 days ago):
Can't the thugs that perpetrated this disgusting act just go away and leave us in peace? And the people whinging and trying to use this as a MOPE about ¡poor Protestant women & children's peaceful protest' need to catch themselves on. There is absolutely NO DIFFERENCE between trying to blow up a policeman in his car and trying to burn a woman police officer to death in a car, as loyalists tried in the same area a few weeks ago. @ Tommy Atkins "Remember folks that the pira were also a breakaway, dissident group, who were also hell bent om murfer. Now they are your elected politicians" Absolutely, the UVF were also an illegal militia who disagreed with the express will of the electorate and were prepared to murder for it and they got a whole state for their troubles.
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