Lone Wolf all alone in prison as dissident gangs shun her

DISSIDENT lone wolf Christine Connor was given the cold shoulder when she returned to prison this week.

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The Sunday World can reveal she was ignored by some inmates after it was revealed she had been slagging of members of Óghlaigh na hÉireann on social media for not murdering members of the PSNI/RUC. The 35-year-old called ONH out for failing to kill a cop, claiming they weren’t committed to the armed struggle, just making money. Connor was taken under the wing of the NIRA when she was first imprisoned with Soaradh campaigning on her behalf when she claimed she was being mistreated behind bars. She fell in with the then Real IRA, which is now the current day NIRA, after sharing a cell in Hydebank Prison with Sharon Rafferty who befriended a terrified Connor. Rafferty was was the first person to be jailed in the North of Ireland under terror laws brought in to combat home-grown Islamic extremism.

SUPPORTIVE 

Rafferty, who now sits on the board of Saoradh, was one of a gang of four jailed for a string of terrorist-related offences including the setting up for a training camp at Formil Wood on the outskirts of Omagh, Co Tyrone. Sources say she is still supportive of Connor.

Soaradh the so-called political wing of the NIRA

“Sharon has kept in touch and Soaradh has to because she is a prisoner of war, it’s their duty, but she is hard work, completely delusional.” Sources say Connor is already struggling inside and is unpopular with fellow inmates. And this time she is alone, with no fellow dissident to share her cell and offer her support and protection. The last time she was behind bars she was repeatedly threatened and attacked by a fellow inmate. “She is not on a republican wing, she is with (ODC) the criminals and the majority of them hate republicans guts and they hate her. “There are some very dangerous people in there and to some of them she is IRA SCUM.”

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

Follow these links to find out more: https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/sunday-life/news/touts-framed-me-claims-desperate-dissident-bomber-christine-connor-39416150.html

(2)-: http://www.irishnews.com/paywall/tsb/irishnews/irishnews/irishnews//news/northernirelandnews/2020/01/15/news/judge-retires-to-consider-verdict-in-christine-connor-trial-1814393/content.html

(3)-: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/uk-northern-ireland-50761189

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 

Follow these links to find out more: https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/christine-connor-trial-pipe-bomb-allegations-ridiculous-says-defendant-38771651.html

(2)-: https://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/crime/christine-connor-guilty-belfast-woman-who-posed-swedish-model-part-terror-plot-convicted-attempting-kill-police-2927652

 

 

OPEN LETTER – CHRISTINE CONNOR – CONGÚS

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US visiter arrested at women’s prison in dissident probe

‘His only crime appears to be being online friends with someone who is perceived to be a republican – Angela Nelson.

A US university student visiting a penpal in Hydebank women’s prison has been arrested by detectives investigating dissident republican activity. Zach Gevelinger was arrested after visiting Christine Connor who is on remand accused of trying to kill two police officers in a pipe-bomb attack

* PENPAL: Zach Gevelinger (24) was arrested as he left Hydebank after visiting Christine Connor who is on remand charged with possessing pipe bombs.

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Ms Connor (27) appeared before Belfast Magistrates Court last month charged with two counts of attempted murder and possession of pipe bombs in relation to an attack on police in the Ballysillan area on May 28. Although it is believed that Mr Gevelinger, from Wisconsin, had been ccommunicating with the North Belfast woman on social networking sites prior to her aarrest, this was his first meeting with her. He arrived in Dublin last Wednesday before traveling north. He made contact with Ms Connor’s mother who arranged a prison visit with her daughter for Saturday afternoon. However, afterwards Mr Gevelinger was met in the car park of Hydebank Wood detention centre, on the outskirts of south Belfast, by detectives from the serious crime unit and taken to Antrim Police Station for questioning.

Police searched a room at Benedict’s Hotel in south Belfast where he had been staying and seized his belongings, which included ccomputer equipment. FREE ZACHARY GEVELINGERThe US consulate in Belfast is liaising with the PSNI which successfully applied for an extension on Monday to hold the 24-year-old for a further 72 hours. Independent Lisburn councillor Angela Nelson has been in contact with the consulate on Mr Gevelinger’s behalf. “This is a young man who was visiting Ireland as a tourist. His only alleged crime appears to be being online friends with someone who is perceived to be a republican,” she said. “He has now been held since Saturday using draconian anti-terrorist legislation in a strange country without any family support. He should be released immediately.” A police spokesman said officers from the serious crime branch had been “granted a further 72 hours to question a man in his twenties arrested in the Belfast area on Saturday July 6”. Last month Lesley Concannon (32) from the US state of West Virgina was released on £25,000 bail after being charged in connection with dissident republican activity. The Zumba teacher was charged with her husband Kevin Barry Concannon (39) after police raided their home at Beachwood Avenue in Derry. The court was told that Ms Concannon first came to Ireland onholiday three years ago and meet her future husband during that visit.

With many thanks to : Allison Morris, The Irish News.

THE VISIT TO HYDEBANK PRISON CENTRE THURSDAY 4TH JULY 2013 TO SEE CHRISTINE CONNOR.

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Angela Nelson

I did not write about this visit on Thursday due to the fact that Christine Connor from North Belfast was in court yesterday (Friday) for another bail application and I was hopeful she may have got it due to the fact that she is a totally innocent young woman held on allegations which are ludicrous and gives the distinct sense of a careful set up by the spooks that are operating within our communities. Sadly she was refused on the grounds that she may have access to pipe bombs and other things.

Christine was arrested at the beginning of June and held and questioned for seven days about an alleged attack when a pipe bomb was thrown at Police who were responding to an 999 call, she was also charged with possession of pipe bombs and preparing acts of terrorism.

At the same time a young man from Shrewsbury in England was also arrested and has since been charged with terrorist offences, whilst he does not appear at the court at the same time as Christine he is being associated with her. Christine does not know this young man at all?

The fact is Christine was arrested with nothing in her possession and after lengthy searches of her home and other family members homes nothing was found and there is no forensic evidence linking her to any of these charges.

The police say they can connect her to these charges, and we as Republicans have been down this road before, when allegations are made with nothing to substantiate them yet the person can spend a long time in “Administrative Detention” until the case comes to trial.

I went to see her on Thursday with a friend of hers and we were able to spend two hours with her where she talked me through the prison regime. Christine shares a wing with one other Republican female prisoner (Sharon Rafferty who has been held in “Isolation” for 13 months) until Christine joined her. The two women have become firm friends and are very supportive of each other. They conduct themselves within the prison as strong Republicans who will not be treated as criminals, but that does not mean that the prison system is not constantly trying to harass them and their visitors by giving them prison numbers, (rather than a name) or referring to them as “Dissident terrorists “in the mixed visiting areas within earshot of other visitors.

There is no education facilities available because the two women can already read and write and there are only courses for illiterate prisoners.

There is access to the gym but it is used by ODC’s and no time slot is made available for the two women to use it without mixing with criminals.

The food is inedible so they have to purchase it form the prison shop which is expensive.

During the week they are allowed out of their cells to associate with each other but at weekends they are locked up for 16 hours a day.

These two Republican women are supported by family and close friends but we as Republicans collectively need to be more supportive and that can be done in a very simple way, send them both a letter or a card, let them know we have not forgot about them. If you live close to their families call and offer support or even inquire about their welfare.

Today we had wonderful weather, the sun was shining and as I was driving up the road young women were sitting in “Beer Gardens” having a cold drink basking in the sunshine….

TODAY CHRISTINE CONNOR HAD HER BIRTHDAY,

SHE IS 28 YEARS OF AGE AND HAS BEEN LOCKED UP FOR 16 HOURS TODAY IN A PRISON CELL BECAUSE SHE IS A REPUBLICAN…

ALL I AM ASKING YOU TO DO AT THIS STAGE IS TO WRITE TO CHRISTINE AND SHARON OR SEND A CARD TO SHOW THEM WE CARE…

Seosamh O Bradaigh

Within the last few hours Christine Connor was having a visit for her birthday when it was abruptly cut short by screws claiming the needed the room for other use, upon leaving the Gaol the 2 visitors were met at the entrance by the RUC/PSNI and arrested one of the visitors, he has since been taken to Antrim RUC/PSNI station. The person who they arrested is not a citizen of the country and is in fact an American citizen, the behaviour of the screws and the RUC/PSNI once again has been brought into question when in relation to Republicans more updates will follow

British PSNI/MI5 STICH-UP RELEASE CHRISTINE CONNOR

Smash Internment

Daibhead Macgowan

After speaking with Christine recently in Hydebank Gaol there are a number of outstanding issues arising from the charges and allegations brought against her. The RUC/PSNI claim to have received intelligence on Christine in relation to her alleged involvement in an incident on the M5 where a device partially exploded; a gun find in the Short Strand, East Belfast and the attack on the RUC/PSNI in Foxes Glen. It also has to be said that the grounds for Christine’s initial arrest for the alleged attempted murder of two RUC/PSNI officers on the Crumlin Road was also intelligence based.

Further to this, during interviews in Antrim, detectives presented their surveillance evidence, including an audio recording, the transcript of which was read out to Christine and her solicitor. Police allege that in this recording the female is Christine Connor and claim that she is discussing the transportation of explosives and the planning of attacks on security personnel in Ireland and England. It has to be asked where and when it had been recorded and as to why it had been recorded. There is no visual, merely an audio and the RUC/PSNI claim to be unable to identify the others present but have bizarrely been able to determine that the female is Christine, without a voice analysis expert and further to this interpreted the conversation as a “terrorist meeting”.

Christine has been informed that the Preparation of Terrorist Acts charges is in relation to incidents on the 15th, 16th and the 28th of May 2013. On the 15th Of May, RUC/PSNI state that there was an aborted operation planned against New Barnsley police station in West Belfast. In the early hours of the 16th of May the RUC/PSNI allege to have received multiple 999 calls from residents in the Ligoneil area of North Belfast, who reported hearing two gun shots and three explosions. On the 28th of May an attack on the RUC/PSNI took place on the Crumlin road in North Belfast which pipe bombs had landed just yards from two RUC/PSNI personnel.

There is no doubting to those that know Christine that as an activist she was very determined and vocal, attributes that subsequently brought her on the radar of the British intelligence services. It has also came to light that there is an investigation under way by the Police Ombudsman as to the way in which Christine was treated in Antrim whilst in Police Custody. Christine has at all times refused to engage with her interrogators and has continued to maintain a dignified silence. She intends to beat these malicious charges .

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