Bomber jailed for targeting police in Belfast attack


A woman who posed as a model to entrap a man into participating in a plot to kill police officers in a bomb attack has been jailed for 16 years.

Christine Connor used a fake online profile to indoctrinate Stuart Downes with her views, a judge said.

Using a fictitious name and a picture of Swedish model Sanne Alexandra Andersson, Connor persuaded Downes to purchase explosives and ship them to Belfast.

She went on to attack police in north Belfast with blast bombs on two occasions after luring officers into the area with bogus 999 calls. No one was seriously injured in the explosions.

The 31-year-old gasped as she was sentenced to 16 years and four months in jail by Judge David McFarland at Belfast Crown Court.

She was convicted of attempting to murder a police officer, as well as other offences.

A prosecution barrister had told the court Connor had been motivated by terrorism and her “primary purpose” was to kill police officers.

Downes, from Shrewsbury, was charged with a series of offences connected to the May 2013 attack, but took his own life last year.

Judge McFarland described him as a “pitiful, troubled and vulnerable young man” – and said his involvement with Connor was a mystery.

He told Connor: “It’s within your power to manipulate others. You are committed to a violent philosophy to achieve political objectives.

“You have shown little remorse. I find you dangerous.”

The judge said there were “disturbing and sinister” aspects to Connor’s relationship with Downes and that she “appears to have been the controlling influence”.

According to police, Connor also used her fake profile to entrap Zachary Gevelinger, an American citizen who, like Downes, had no previous connections to Northern Ireland.

He was arrested and questioned after visiting Connor at Hydebank Prison in July 2013, but later also took his own life.

A defence lawyer for Connor had asked the court to “extend leniency” because she has a number of health problems and would find life in prison “particularly difficult”.

She will spend three years and eight months on licence once she is released from prison, and is entitled to apply to the Parole Board for an early release.

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Source: Sky News