Christine Connor found guilty of two counts of attempted murder

Christine Connor
Christine Connor found guilty of attempted murder. Image copyrightPACEMAKER
A judge has found Christine Connor guilty of attempting to kill a police officer after luring him and a colleague with hoax phone calls.

At Belfast Crown Court on Wednesday the 35-year-old was convicted of four offences, including two counts of causing an explosion.

The charges relate to two incidents in north Belfast in May 2013.

The judge remanded Connor in custody and said sentencing will take place on 20 August.

The court previously heard that Connor made bogus 999 calls to police on two separate occasions.

Evidence tagsImage copyrightPACEMAKER
Image captionConnor was linked to the charges with DNA from clothing. 

In the first incident on 16 May, Connor made a trial run and threw a pipe bomb on the Ligoniel Road.

Later, on 28 May, she lured police to the Crumlin Road before attacking them from an alleyway with two pipe bombs.

In the second hoax call Connor tearfully claimed her name was Gemma and she was the victim of domestic abuse.

Police attended a house on the Crumlin Road, and as one officer was knocking the front door, a pipe bomb was thrown at another officer from a nearby alleyway.

As he tried to evade the explosion, the officer tripped on a kerb and as he lay prone, a second pipe bomb was thrown onto the road.

‘Evasive and argumentative’

Connor was first convicted in 2017 and jailed for 16 years, but was released in December 2018 after appeal judges overturned her conviction and ordered a retrial.

Connor, whose address is subject to a reporting restriction, denied the offences.

She was found guilty of one count of attempted murder, one count of preparation of terrorist acts and two counts of causing explosion likely to endanger life.

Connor was linked to the charges with DNA evidence from clothing as well as mobile phone evidence and CCTV.

The judge said the prosecution’s case was built on a “combination of circumstantial, physical and forensic evidence” and that he was satisfied that Connor has searched online for how to make pipe bombs.

He ruled that she was “clearly involved in the planning, making and deployment of the pipe bombs,” and that her intention was to kill the police officer.

Connor stood trial in a non-jury hearing at the end of 2019.

Giving his ruling on Wednesday, the judge said that having had “the benefit of seeing and hearing the defendant give evidence and be cross-examined…I found her evasive, argumentative and, when it suited her, refused to answer questions.”

A woman has described as “ridiculous” an allegation that she transported pipe bombs in a supermarket bag just prior to an attack on police.

Christine Connor, 34, whose address is subject to a reporting restriction, is on trial before Belfast Crown Court.

She denies six charges arising from two incidents in the north of the city in May 2013.

The first occurred on 16 May, with the second taking place on 28 May.

Ms Connor, who was called to the witness box on Tuesday, has been charged with, and denies, two counts of possessing explosives with intent, two counts of causing an explosion with intent to endanger life, attempting to murder a police constable and the preparation of terrorist acts.

Under questioning from her barrister, Tim Moloney QC, Ms Connor spoke of her republican background and her involvement with the Republican Network for Unity (RNU).

When questioned about the two incidents in north Belfast, Connor admitted she was out for an early morning walk in the area at the time of the second incident, but denied involvement in both.

Mr Moloney asked his client about her education, family background and employment history.

She was then asked whether republican politics was an important part of her upbringing, to which she said “yes, very much so”.

Ms Connor said that around late 2012 and early 2013, she was actively involved with RNU which she described as “a political organisation, not an armed group”.

Ms Connor said she and other members took part in protests, pickets and camp outs “to highlight the plight of republican prisoners”, with one such protest taking place outside the Alliance Party headquarters in south Belfast as at that time the party’s David Ford was justice minister.

She was asked about former co-accused Stuart Downes, who was charged with offences linked to the incident.

Downes, who the Crown say assisted Ms Connor by purchasing component parts for the pipe bombs and ensuring they were delivered to Northern Ireland, died in June 2016.

Ms Connor denied communicating with Mr Downes and when she was asked if she ever pretended to be Swedish model Sanne Andersson, she replied “no”.

Mr Moloney then questioned his client about movie clips – one of which was found on Mr Downes’ phone and another on a laptop found in a mattress in her bedroom.

It is the Crown’s case that one of the clips is Ms Connor conducting a “dry-run” of the route she planned to take before launching the first pipe bomb attack on 16 May.

Laganside Courts complex
Laganside Courts in Belfast
Connor was convicted at Belfast Crown Court on Wednesday

Connor was charged alongside Stuart Downes from Shrewsbury.

The 31-year old was subsequently granted bail and was found dead in woodland near his home in June 2016.

The judge said that between February and May 2013 “they researched pipe bombs, with Downes purchasing component parts and ensuring they were dispatched to and received in Northern Ireland where they were deployed by Connor.”

During the trial, the prosecution said Connor and Downes met online and established a relationship when Connor was posing as a blonde Swedish model called Sanne Anderson.

When arrested, Connor denied she knew Downes and rejected claims she communicated with him.

She continued these denials during the trial, but in his ruling the judge said there was overwhelming evidence to suggest otherwise.

The court heard that the month before the two explosions, an “intense relationship” via SMS and Facebook messages developed between Connor and Downes as they researched information on pipe bombs.

MattressImage copyrightPACEMAKER
Image captionLaptops belonging to Connor were found in a mattress at her house

During her arrest on 29 May 2013 police searched Connor’s home and found two laptops and a phone hidden in a mattress in a bedroom.

When these devices were examined a movie file was located which depicted a woman walking in north Belfast and talking about police.

This video was described as a ‘practice run’ and despite denials she had made the video, it was ruled that it was Connor in the film. This same clip was also located on Downes’ mobile.

The judge also ruled that the laptops found in the mattress were linked to Connor, and that prior to the May 2013 explosions, online searches such as ‘how to make pipe bombs in your kitchen’ had been made.

Speaking outside court, Det Supt Richard Campbell described the case as “hugely complex and unusual” with several UK police services working together to gather evidence.

“This was an attack on police officers, who were carrying out their role of protecting communities,” he said.

“I would like to pay particular thanks to them. This was a traumatic experience for them and I acknowledge that as victims they have waited a very long time for today’s outcome.

“Today’s conviction is the result of excellent joint working between the PSNI and West Mercia Police alongside the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit and we will now await the sentencing.”

With many thanks to: BBCNI for the original story 

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With many thanks to: Republican Network for Unity for the original story 



CAREFREE stalker Fernando Murphy has enjoyed a string of foreign trips in brazen defiance of an arrest warrant (is he a police informer?)

Convicted stalker and wanna be Republican with the girl he was convicted of stalking

Murphy is wanted by police yet swans around North Belfast without a care in the world, and has jetted off for a series of weekend breaks in destinations stretching from Trannslylvania to Dubin. The convicted stalker who has close links to ONH, Óghlaigh na hÉireann failed to turn up in court after being found guilty of repeated harassing his partner (pictured above). A warrant was issued for his arrest in July yet two months later police have still failed to scoop the dissy-loving criminal despite still residing at his registered address. Despite this the 42-year-old appears to have a care in the world. He can regularly found in the officers of Cogus POWs where he was employed by the dissident organisation as a so-called ‘social worker’ despite harassing the young daughter of his stalking victim.

Cogus, which is funded with BRITISH grant money, is run by his close friend Carl Reilly, (pictured below), Belfast boss of ONH, and senior dissident Thomas ‘Ta’ Cosgrove. They were forced to make a statement distinishing themselves from Murphy after a backlash  about his involvement with the prisoner group. Yet instead of keeping his head down, wanted hole hole until recently switching venues to drink in a busy city-centre bar on a Castle Street in the company of ‘Lone Wolf’ Christine Connor. Connor is currently on trail for attempting to murder members of the RUC/PSNI.

Carl Reilly ONH boss North Belfast


The 34-year-old has been charged with – and denies – six offences dating back to 2013. Connor is accused of two counts of possessing EXPLOSIVES with intent to endanger life, two counts of causing an explosion likely to endanger life, attempting to murder a police constable, and the preparation of terrorist acts. Her retrial opened earlier this month after her initial conviction was quashed (as the RUC/PSNI were found to be lying in Court).

Christine Connor (The Lone Wolf)

“He is in the company of people who are being monitored by the RUC/PSNI yet they can’t find him (I wonder why is he working with the RUC/PSNI)? Unbelievable, it raises all sorts of questions,” said one dissident contact. In July he was convicted of harassment, breaching a restraining order and sending menacing messages by a public electronic communications network, in what the judge described as an “abominable” campaign of social media abuse. Before sentencing, Murphy repeatedly breached his bail conditions by drinking in the local bar in the Ardoyne area of Belfast yet when this was reported to police he remained unhindered.

TRIAL: Fernando Murphy outside Antrim court in 2017 and inset: his holiday posting – Fernando O’Murchu: They are all pantomime papers stop worrying about them I’m not mojito time

The Sunday World understands that Murphy’s recent movements have also been reported to police yet they have so far failed to apprehend him. Meanwhile Murphy has been accused of pocketing money collected from ballots sold to raise money for dissident prisoners currently serving time in Maghaberry Prison. He has denied any wrong-doing and wth the personal backing of Reilly and Cosgrove has so far escaped the wrath of those convinced he has had his fingers in the till. Since coming on to the dissident scene Murphy’s reputation has been clouded in suspicion. Last year this newspaper and (also this blog) revealed how the unemployed man had tens of thousands of pounds stashed in a secret bank account. Banking documentation obtained by the Sunday World revealed that £41,000 had been lodged through accounts of one business that was registered in Murphy’s name. In contrast his current account never exceeded £100 and was repeatedly overdrawn. The revelation was greeted with deep suspicion with Murphy being questioned where the money had come from and how he came to be the director of a number of companies.


Fernando Murphy – Fernando O’Murchu

These included Edendale Sales Ltd and Westside Wholesale Ltd, which are both registered to an address at Duneden Park in Ardoyne, and A1 Civil Engineering & Utilities Ltd and GB Vehicles Hire & Sales Ltd, which are registered to a semi-detached house at Charnwood Avenue on the outskirts of Manchester. Forbes Motors Ltd, which had more than £41,000 in the bank at one stage, was dissolved in 2017 have never filled accounts. Murphy used the Forbes Motors Ltd debit card to go drinking and gambling. According to Companies House documents Murphy claimed that he also worked as a ‘mechenic’ (sic) for Forbes Motors Ltd, despite never having a driving licence. “There is always something going on with him, something that just doesn’t sit right. All that stuff with the money that was never explained and now the cops letting him run the roads with high-profile dissidents and not even give him a second glance. “We get stopped all the time for going for a pint of milk yet there is a warrant for his arrest and he is ignored? There is something not right there,” added another dissident source. Murphy was jailed for two years in 2006 for taking part in a riot during which he attacked soldiers with a hammer. When asked for comment an RUC/PSNI spokesperson said they do not comment on individual cases.

With many thanks to the: Sunday World and Paula Mackin for the EXCLUSIVE original story

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Monaghan man found guilty of IRA membership

James Joseph Cassidy. Picture Collins Courts

A Monaghan mechanic has been found guilty of IRA membership by the non-jury Special Criminal Court.

James Joseph Cassidy, 55, of Tullycollive, Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, had denied membership of an unlawful organisation, styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Óglaigh na hÉireann, otherwise the IRA on September 21, 2016.

In his opening address to the three-judge court at the end of January, prosecuting counsel Paul Greene SC said gardaí discovered a “water booster tube” during a search in and around Cassidy’s family home and sheds which he owned or had access to.

Mr Greene said there would be evidence of this device’s similarity to one seized during another prosecution in Kilcurry, an area “not very far away from where we are talking about”.

He told the court that the Tullycollive area is “an unusually remote” part of Monaghan overlooking the border into Armagh and accessed by a minor road.

Counsel said gardaí found the gated property to have had a “high degree of security” with 10 St Bernard dogs “who behaved rather aggressively”.

Mr Greene said that gardaí also found three mobile phones and “items of Republican paraphernalia” that would be exhibited in the trial.

He said there would also be evidence of Mr Cassidy’s association with a number of convicted IRA members and people of a group called the Republican Network Unity (RNU).

Chief Superintendent Christopher Mangan gave evidence during the trial of his belief that Cassidy was an IRA member on the date in question.

He claimed privilege on the sources of the confidential information on which his belief was based.

Detective Sergeant Oliver Flaherty, of the Special Detective Unit (SDU), told the trial that he was involved in the search of Mr Cassidy’s premises and adjoining lands on September 21, 2016.

Det Sgt Flaherty said that he found a black metal pipe, about 40cm in length, with drilled holes in a shed.

It was found on the floor in a small space between the rear of a vat or box and the wall.

It would not have been visible to anybody walking into the shed, he said.

Detective Inspector William Hanrahan, of the SDU, gave evidence that he had previously seen similar tubing in relation to “other IRA operations”.

It was a booster tube, the detective inspector said.

Delivering judgment today, Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, sitting with Judge Patricia Ryan and Judge Ann Ryan, said that the court accepted the belief evidence of Chief Supt Mangan.

“He assured us on more than one occasion that his belief was not founded on the defendant’s arrest or detention and we accept these assurances,” said Mr Justice Hunt.

The judge said belief evidence must be supported and corroborated by other evidence in the prosecution case.

The prosecution had relied on evidence seized during a search of Cassidy’s home and matters arising from his conduct prior to September 21, outlined Mr Justice Hunt.

The judge said that the length of the black metal pipe found in Cassidy’s shed was the first plank of supporting evidence relied on by the prosecution.

“The prosecution’s case is that this item is a booster tube which is an intricate part of an explosive type device,” explained Mr Justice Hunt, adding that the booster tube was similar to items seized at Kilcurry.

The judge said the defendant had denied any knowledge of the booster tube which was found in the shed and told gardaí that he did not own the shed and other people had access to it.

The evidence is that Cassidy was the only person using the shed at the time and the farm was in a “generally remote location” which was not easily accessible to any third party, said the judge.

Mr Justice Hunt said the court was satisfied that the likelihood of some person other than Cassidy placing the booster tube in the shed was “so remote and fanciful” that it could safely be dismissed.

“There is no evidence that anyone else had such access,” he stated, adding that the presence of the booster tube in the shed was not an unfortunate coincidence.

Furthermore, Mr Justice Hunt said Cassidy’s answers to gardaí concerning his knowledge of the booster tube were false and untruthful.

Mr Justice Hunt said strands of evidence in relation to the booster pipe, a USB key and mobile phones were part of a “pattern of behaviour” that supported the belief evidence that Cassidy was a member of the IRA on the day in question.

The convicted man was remanded in custody until April 29, when he will be sentenced.

Statement on behalf of internee Tony Taylor Roe 3 Maghaberry

This statement is in reference to the covering up of the mural on the international wall Belfast on Saturday 9th June.
I am personally calling on RNU to desist with their constant attacks on myself my campaign but most importantly my family, as it is having a detrimental effect on them in particularly.
I am also calling on them to now remove their other mural that they refer to in their statement in Ardoyne as they do not speak for me or my family and they haven’t done so for almost 2 years and they know they shouldn’t be doing so , so there is no reason for them to be campaigning in any shape or form on my behalf.
For all my friends and all who have been supporting my campaign I thank you and ask you all to continue to do so and when I get released I will be making a full statement to give clarity about all that has been going on the last two years reference my campaign and the constant attack’s on my family but I don’t intend to get into a war of words whilst I’m stuck behind a British prison wall.

Tony Taylor

With many thanks to: Free Tony Taylor for the origional posting.

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Republican Network For Unity (RNU) – National page

Republican Network for Unity statement from the Ard Comharlie regarding International Wall issue.

Over the past few months there has been a continued surge in attacks upon not only the gaza strip, but on Palestinians as a whole.

Republican Network for Unity would like to express our upmost sympathy with those who have lost their lives in these attacks and to send our support to our Palestinian comrades opposing these autroicites.

Last weekend RNU erected a board in support of the our international comrades fight and used our prime location of the Internation wall on the Falls Road in Belfast to highlight not only our support for their cause, but also a show of solidarity in their time of need.

RNU, have come under scrutiny from others regarding the placement of the boards. The board is currently covering a long standing mural of ours regarding the internment of fellow comrade Tony Taylor, and while it was never RNU’s intention to take away any support or remove the ability to highlight Tony’s internment as we have a prominent carbon copy mural supporting Tony in North Belfast beside our Na Fianna garden (pictured below).

We have erected boards over the mural rather than removing the mural itself, and while it was recommended that we move it over to the other side of the wall it would then also cover the Justice for the Craigavon 2 banner and we will not be brought to deviate over which case is more important, Tony Taylor’s or that of Brendan and JP, both cases are victims of the british state Internment. As hi lighted RNU took the decision to erect a board in support of innocent civilians being gunned down, bombed, jailed, and their homes destroyed in Palestine.

In the words of one of our Republican leaders Ernie O’Malley “if we consulted the wishes of the people, we would never have fired a shot”

In other words RNU will never be able to please everyone in what we do, but in our opinion all similar struggles of oppression deserve to be hi lighted, particularly in such a prominent location as the Internaional Wall.

Republican Network for Unity while continuing to support Irish Political Prisoners, will also continue to show support for our Palastinan comrades and urge the Irish Government to expel the Israeli ambassador from Ireland.

Statement ends, no further comment will be made on this issue.

With many thanks to: RNU leadership for the origional posting.

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More harassment of Irish republicans by the armed paramilitary police force of the RUC/PSNI

PSNI harassment at a community lead vigil against recent acts of criminality.

Tonight members of Republican Network for Unity, stood alongside a local Sinn Fein elected representative and members of the local community, attending a community organised vigil regarding the recent spate of armed robberies to local businesses on the junction of The Glen and Suffolk Road.

As the vigil neared an end, three armoured PSNI land rovers arrived and sat observing those in attendance. The heavily armed presence of the PSNI intimidated the members of the local community, some who then felt uncomfortable and left the vigil before it ended.

The PSNI then singled out a handful of those gathered including local residents and stopped them under the trumped up justice and security act.

This vigil, a community based incentive was advertised under the banner of ‘hands off our community’. The businesses along this junction have recently suffered severely at the hands of criminals, so much so it is now affecting the services provided to the area and is also affecting local employment.

The question that needs to be asked would the PSNI’s time not be better spent finding these criminal elements that are the cause of such harm to our communities, rather than harassing republicans and local residents working for the better of the local community.

With many thanks to: Republican Network for Unity – national page

Derry Republicans welcome ‘de facto ceasefire’ from IRA grouping.

Cogus, ex Republican prisoners from Derry and supporters of the Republican Network for Unity today welcomed moves towards the possible end to the Oglaigh na hEireann’s (ONH) armed campaign.

A spokesperson said that on Sunday, a former IRA prisoner, Ta Cosgrove, read a statement from the RNU at a commemoration at Edentubber, County Louth, in which they said the organisation must ‘move forward together’ and engage in a process of ‘modernisation’.

The Derry source said that the ONH was effectively on a ‘de facto ceasefire’, while internal discussions take place and that Ta Cosgrove’s comments follow a statement at Easter which said the ONH were engaged in a ‘wide-ranging discussion about tactics, strategy and the future of the republican struggle’.

With many thanks to: Derry Now for the origional story


Republican Network for Unity, RNU to step up ‘process of modernisation’

A hardline republican party RNU which previously indicated a possible end to Óglaigh na hÉireann’s paramilitary campaign has said it is stepping up its “process of modernisation”.

Prominent north Belfast republican Ta Cosgrove made the comments at a Republican Network for Unity (RNU) commemoration last weekend.

The party is viewed as the political wing of Óglaigh na hÉireann (ONH), which earlier this year said it is engaged in a “wide ranging discussion about tactics, strategy and the future of the republican struggle”.
Sources close to the organisation said that while no announcement has been made, it is currently on a “de facto ceasefire” while internal discussions take place.

ONH emerged from a split within the Real IRA around a decade ago.
It is believed the last significant attack carried out by the group was in January when a roadside bomb left for the PSNI in Poleglass, on the outskirts of west Belfast, was defused by the British army.
The comments from ONH followed an earlier statement from RNU signalling a shift in strategy, which was read out at an Easter commemoration in north Belfast.
It is understood several people have resigned from the party since then.

Mr Cosgrove, who is a former republican prisoner, spoke at a commemoration to mark the 60th anniversary of five republicans killed in a premature explosion at Edentubber, Co Louth in 1957.
He said the “RNU family” has continued to debate “both internally and with our critical friends” and “the future of our movement has been the subject of intense activity”.
The movement, he said, has assessed its “strengths and weaknesses” and recognises “that we must move forward now – procrastinate any longer will only lead to division and uncertainty”.
“The coming weeks and months will see a gear change in our process of modernisation that was spoke of at Easter.
“Today we ask you here, and members and supporters unable to attend and to the wider republican base, to begin with us the debate around a republican movement that is credible, realistic and modern.
“In time those determined to advance the revolutionary republican position will attest to our reshaped movement and renewed direction.”

With many thanks to: Connla Young, The Irish News for the original story.

Man (39) charged with directing terrorism refused bail


RNU resolute and undeterred despite arrests and charges


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