Kevin Barry Nolan from Blacklion and ex- Irish soldier Gerard James McManus from Letterkenny have been sentenced to six and six and a half years respectively for terrorist offences relating to an incident in Garrison back in 2009.
The two were sentenced on Thursday at Belfast Crown Court. One time independent local council candidate Nolan will serve six years in prison with a further six on licence. While McManus will serve six and half years in prison with a further six and a half on licence.
The two had previously pleaded guilty to having a firearm with intent to endanger life and possessing articles likely to be used in the preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism. The court heard these related to a car, a balaclava, gloves, lighters and soap. The two originally were set to go on trial for the attempted murder of a student PSNI police officer.
In the case that dates back to November 21, 2009 McManus, 28 and from Fernhill, Letterkenny, and 35-year-old Nolan, of Main Street, Blacklion were detained during an undercover police operation at the time.
During a previous series of Magistrates’ Courts sittings, they heard that the two accused claimed they had no intention of shooting the trainee officer, only to scare him.
They were allegedly spotted in a Vauxhall Astra approaching home before police moved in.
McManus, wearing a balaclava allegedly went to the front door, while Nolan remained in the front passenger seat of the Astra, where he was later arrested, allegedly sitting on a magazine, loaded with 16 rounds for a Glock pistol.
McManus escaped, running down the side of the house and firing off a shot.
He was apprehended the following morning, in a garden shed. A mask and gloves were found in the shed, but no gun was ever recovered.
During interview, both men maintained they had no intention of harming the student police officer.
In his interviews Nolan, whose alleged role was to give McManus directions, claimed that as far as he was concerned: “No harm was going to be caused,” and that firing the gun was to “put the frighteners on him.”
At Belfast Crown Court on Thursday Deputy Recorder Judge Corinne Philpott QC said the two clearly planned to ‘endanger the life of the student police officer’ and noted that Nolan had provided the means to drive, while McManus was the gunman in the planned attack only thwarted by police intelligence.
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