A MAN who planted a pipe bomb underneath the van of an Irvinestown man has been sentenced to two years in prison.
Sending 33-year-old Sean McVeigh, a father of four, to prison, Judge David McFarland said he accepted the incident, which occurred in Irvinestown a year ago, was linked to a fall-out among criminals, and was neither sectarian nor related to dissident republicanism.
Judge McFarland also said he accepted McVeigh was not part of the revenge plan, and did not help to prepare the pipe bomb, but was pressured into driving another man from Donegal to Irvinestown in his own van.
Belfast Crown Court heard that when McVeigh and his passenger arrived at the Sallys Wood estate McVeigh was ordered to plant the device under the intended target’s van.
It went off just after midnight on January 31, 2017, causing minor damage to the rear nearside of the vehicle.
A passer-by walking his dog when the bomb exploded was treated for shock.
McVeigh, a chef from Glencara Park in Letterkenny, will serve 12 months in prison and 12 months on probation.
Crown prosecutor Robin Steer said McVeigh’s movements were caught on CCTV, and he was arrested last March when the same vehicle was spotted in Omagh.
After his arrest McVeigh initially denied any involvement in the blast.
However, he later told police he had been pressured into driving a man to Sally Wood, then ordered to plant the device. He also made the case the incident was linked to a feud among criminals and was not sectarian in any way.
McVeigh initially faced four offences, three of which were ‘left on the books’ when he admitted doing an act with intent to cause an explosion.
Defence barrister Mark Mulholland QC branded the background to the offence as “unusual”.
Speaking of a lack of sophistication, the barrister said not only did McVeigh use his own van, but also drove back over the border in the same vehicle a few months later, leading to his arrest.
Regarding the incident, Mr Mulholland said McVeigh had “the fear of God” put up him and that he played no role in either the construction of the device or planning the revenge attack.
The barrister said the intention was to damage the vehicle and frighten its owner, adding the actual damage was limited and amounted to “nothing more than a flat tyre”.
He also branded the incident as “unsavoury”, but said it was a “one-off”.