Londonderry bomb accused remanded in custody

Image caption,
The police said Mr O'Donnell has previous relevant convictions

A 42-year-old man has appeared at Londonderry Magistrates' Court charged with bombing a police station in the city earlier this month.

Philip O'Donnell, from Baldrick Crescent, Derry, faced 12 charges in connection with the Strand Road bomb.

He is accused of possessing explosives, hijacking a taxi and membership of Oglaigh na hEireann.

Mr O'Donnell, who denied all the charges against him, was refused bail and was remanded in custody.

There was a heavy police presence inside and outside the court for the hearing.

The father-of-four is also charged with falsely imprisoning a taxi driver, possessing a firearm and trying to hijack two other taxis in the days leading up to the 3 August attack.

A police detective told the court the defendant had previous relevant convictions for hijacking and possessing an offensive weapon and there was forensic evidence linking Mr O'Donnell to the attack.

A solicitor for Mr O'Donnell said his client's last relevant conviction was in 1998. He also said the defendant had health issues which required constant care.

Refusing bail, District Judge Barney McElholm described the charges as "very serious" and said there were concerns Mr O'Donnell would flee the jurisdiction.

Mr O'Donnell will appear in court again on 2 September via video link.

A 54-year-old man is still being questioned about the attack.

He was arrested on Monday and police were given permission to detain him for four days. On Thursday, they were given permission to hold him for four more.