Co Armagh bomb suspect denied bail to attend daughter’s communion

Sean McVeigh faces charges of attempted murder and possessing explosives with intent to endanger life
Sean McVeigh faces charges of attempted murder and possessing explosives with intent to endanger life

A man in custody accused of planting a bomb under a police officer’s car cannot attend his daughter’s First Communion, a High Court judge has ruled.

Sean McVeigh, 36, was seeking compassionate bail to go to the ceremony and a party that would have involved overnight release.

But Madam Justice McBride refused his application due to the risk he may attempt to flee.

McVeigh, of Victoria Street in Lurgan, Co Armagh, faces charges of attempted murder and possessing explosives with intent to endanger life.

The alleged offences relate to the discovery of a bomb underneath a policeman’s car in Eglinton, Co Londonderry on June 18, 2015.

The target’s wife, also a serving PSNI officer, woke in the middle of the night to discover a man planting the viable device, a previous court heard.

The would-be bomber fled after she hammered on the bedroom window.

A circumstantial case allegedly links McVeigh and two other men to the terrorist attack.

They were arrested by gardai who stopped a Volkswagen Passat later the same night across the border in Co Donegal, but released unconditionally after clothing was taken for forensic examination.

McVeigh was said to have remained in the Irish Republic until detained by the PSNI at Portadown train station in May 2016.

Tests revealed a low amount of explosive component on the clothing that had been seized from him, it was alleged.

Prosecutors contend there is material pointing to him being the person who actually placed the device.

He was seeking temporary release from custody to go the ceremony on April 8, and then further family celebrations.

Defence barrister Dessie Hutton said: “His daughter earnestly wants him to attend her Holy Communion and he earnestly wishes to attend.”

But the court heard that the event was being held in an area where prison officers would be unable to act as escorts.

Denying the application, Madam Justice McBride drew a distinction between the ceremony and requests by prisoners to visit a dying relative.

She ruled: “The risk of flight outweighs the application for compassionate temporary release.”