Court hears plea to spare Marian Price jail sentence

Price admitted providing phone used to claim Real IRA attack

 Marian Price will be sentenced in January: File potograph: Niall Carson/PA

Marian Price will be sentenced in January: File potograph: Niall Carson/PA

Thu, Dec 19, 2013, 14:25

Laganside Crown Court in Belfast today heard a plea for Old Bailey bomber Marian Price not to be sent to prison.

After initially pleading not guilty, Price last month admitted providing a mobile phone that was used by the Real IRA to claim to the media that it had carried out the attack in which soldiers, Patrick Azimkar and Mark Quinsey were killed in Antrim in 2009.

The soldiers, who were about to embark for duty in Afghanistan were shot dead at the entrance to the British army Massereene base in Antrim. They and other soldiers were shot as they were collecting pizzas from a local delivery service. Price admitted purchasing the pay-as-you-go mobile phone which was used to make a number of calls to the media and to the Samaritans in which the Real IRA claimed responsibility for the attack.

Price, who is also known by her married name of Marian McGlinchey, also admitted a charge of aiding and abetting the addressing of a meeting to encourage support for terrorism. This related to a dissident Easter rally in Derry in April 2011 in which she held a speech for a masked Real IRA member to read.

In 1973 Price, along with her sister Dolours, who died in January this year, and with other IRA members including Sinn Féin Assembly member Gerry Kelly carried out the bombing on the Old Bailey court in London. One man died of a heart attack and more than 200 people were injured in the explosion.

Ms Price was released on licence but in May 2011 a month after the Derry rally the then Conservative Northern Secretary Owen Paterson revoked her licence, returning her to prison. Mr Paterson said she posed a significant threat. She was released from this custody in May this year.

In court today the prosecuting lawyer, Terence Mooney, QC,said her actions “were consistent with a person who disseminates propaganda on behalf of or in promotion of a dissident terrorist organisation”. He added however he was not “saying she is an offender who can be considered to be dangerous”.

Her lawyer Mr O’Donoghue said it would be wrong to say she had a “proximately material role” in the killings of the soldiers. He referred to a substantial body of medical evidence which found her to be “chronically physically and, it seems, mentally ill”.

Mr O’Donoghue said her two years in custody after her licence was revoked was equivalent to a 4-year sentence. He suggested to Judge Kerr that “justice can be served by a lengthy suspended sentence”. Judge Kerr remanded Price (59) from Stockman’s Lane, Belfast on continuing bail. He will impose sentence on January 7th.

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