Two men convicted of a parcel bomb plot against Celtic manager Neil Lennon have been jailed at the High Court.
Trevor Muirhead and Neil McKenzie were both sentenced to five years in prison for the plot. McKenzie’s sentence will run concurrently with an 18-month sentence for sending the first package to the Celtic manager.
Both sentences will be backdated to May 2011 when the men were initally arrested.
Muirhead, 44, of Kilwinning, and McKenzie, 42, of Saltcoats, were found guilty of conspiracy to assault after they constructed packages marked for Mr Lennon, former MSP Trish Godman, and the last QC Paul McBride.
After the hearing, one of Mr McKenzie's brothers who was present in court questioned whether justice had been done. Matthew Berlow, Mr McKenzie's solicitor, told STV News he would be appealing the conviction on "several legal issues" but had no problems with the sentence handed down.
Alan Thompson, assistant manager at Celtic, said in the club's Friday press conference that Mr Lennon was ""delighted with the sentences passed out at court today and hopes that's the end of the matter."
Celtic Chief Executive Peter Lawwell said: "We are pleased with the way in which this case has been treated and once again we would like to thank Strathclyde Police for their support and assistance.
"Regrettably, Neil over many years has been the subject of various attacks. We hope this sentence will send a signal to others that this kind of behaviour cannot be tolerated.
"Neil and his family have shown great courage in dealing with this particular episode and, clearly, they continue to have our full support."
During sentencing Lord Turnbull told the pair from Ayrshire was "incomprehensible that two such family men would engage in such serious criminal and reckless conduct". He added: "I can't fathom what was in your minds at the time when you did this."
Lord Turnbull added that the bomb plot could not "be thought of as acts of terrorism in any sense at all." He told the pair "The intent with which the jury found you had acted could not have been achieved. There was no risk of injury to anyone."
Gordon Jackson QC for Muirhead said on Friday: "No matter how misguided their intentions were, in reality what they did, did no damage to anybody."
Initially charged with conspiracy to murder, during the trial Lord Turnbull told the jury there was "no evidence" the pair intended to kill their targets and the charges were reduced. When they first appeared in court the charges were said to be aggravated by religious prejudice, but this element of the case was also dropped.
McKenzie and Muirhead’s plot consisted of five suspicious packages, two of them addressed to Mr Lennon, which were discovered in spring 2011. Police initially said the pieces of mail had been designed to kill or maim their intended targets, which also included the republican organisation Cairde Na hEireann.
During the trial, Muirhead and McKenzie’s defence argued that the devices could not explode, with the latter claiming to police in an interview he received "bomb making" tips from 80s US television show The A-Team.
Police tracked down the pair after a parcel addressed to the late Paul McBride QC was found in a post-box in Montgomerie Terrace, Kilwinning, in May 2011. Officers used covert surveillance, trawled CCTV footage and examined shopping receipts to catch McKenzie, from Kilwinning, and Muirhead, from Saltcoats, Ayrshire, who were recorded claiming they were not a couple of "daft hillbillies" by a police bug in their car.
After the pair were found guilty of the plot in March, senior investigating officer Detective Chief Superintendent John Cuddihy said the men’s actions were "predicated by hate", while during the trial the jury heard a police interview with Muirhead that he had passed on peroxide for McKenzie and that his fellow plotter had "pure hatred and it seems to be aimed at Neil Lennon and anything to do with Celtic Football Club."
McKenzie was also found guilty of dispatching a parcel addressed to Mr Lennon at Celtic Park that he believed would explode or ignite on March 3, 2011. The jury found that the same charge against Muirhead was not proven.
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