Kevin Barry and Lesley Concannon face explosives charges

A husband and wife have been remanded in custody on explosives charges.

Lesley Concannon, 32, and her husband Kevin Barry Concannon, 39, denied all the charges at a special sitting of Londonderry Magistrate's Court.

They are accused of possessing the high explosive PETN with intent to endanger life or cause serious injury to property or to enable others to do so.

The court heard the explosives were found in their home in Beechwood Avenue, Derry.

The couple are also accused of possessing articles for use in terrorism, namely a propellant consisting of magnesium ribbon aluminium filings and a de-activated Yugoslavian M56 sub-machine gun and a magazine, in suspicious circumstances.

'Military grade'

Kevin Barry Concannon is further charged that between 1 August, 2012 and 28 October, 2012, he collected information likely to be of use to terrorists namely 22 photos of the Merseyside Police Headquarters in Liverpool.

Both defendants deny the charges.

A detective sergeant said the defendants' house was searched on Monday as part of continuing police investigations into the discovery of four mortar bombs while they were being transported from County Donegal into Londonderry on 3 March.

He said 130 grams of PETN explosives were found in a coal bunker at the rear of the house wrapped in cling film.

"PETN is one of the most powerful explosives, of military grade, similar to Semtex", he said.

The officer said PETN could be used either as an undercar boobytrap bomb or for manufacturing pipe bombs and it could also be used as a powerful detonator for a larger bomb.

He said a number of munition casings were also found wrapped in cling film in the coal bunker. He said the empty casings were similar to those used by a paramilitary group, Republican Action Against Drugs, for so-called punishment shootings.

Online searches

The detective said that during a second search of the couple's house two days later, the police found the sub-machine gun, smoke grenades and a pyrotechnic thunderflash.

They also found "anarchist documents" relating to the construction of explosive devices, a set of car number plates, an empty coffee grinder box as well as aluminium filings.

On a laptop also found in the house the officer said police discovered 30,000 search requests. One request stated "Can I take a gun on to a plane" and another request stated "Can I take a gun and a magazine on to a plane".

There was no bail application for Kevin Barry Concannon but a bail application was made for Lesley Concannon.

Her solicitor said she had no criminal record and first came to Northern Ireland on holiday with her father three years ago. During her visit she met her future husband.

He said Mrs Concannon had been interviewed 15 times since her arrest and at all times she denied any knowledge of the items found in her home.

He said there was no forensic link connecting her to the items found.

District Judge Barney McElholm refused bail because of a fear of her committing further offences and of her fleeing the jurisdiction.

Both defendants will appear in court again for a video link remand hearing on 27 June.

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