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Terrorist train driver jailed for 20 years

A train driver from Birmingham who planted a car bomb as part of a terrorist feud which spilled over from Northern Ireland has been jailed for 20 years.

A train driver from Birmingham who planted a car bomb as part of a terrorist feud which spilled over from Northern Ireland has been jailed for 20 years.

Stanley Curry (47) who has strong ties to loyalist groups in Ulster, took part in the attack on a friend of "Mad Dog" Johnny Adair, the leader of a renegade Belfast terror group.

The attack was a result of reprisals between warring factions of loyalist UDA groups in Northern Ireland.

Curry planned to plant the bomb under the car of Adair's associate John "Fat Jackie" Thompson. But the device malfunctioned and the intended victim was unhurt.

A jury at Preston Crown Court yesterday found Curry guilty of conspiring with a person or persons unknown to cause an explosion.

Curry, who has denied the charge, showed no emotion as his verdict and sentence were read out.

Thompson, a former UDA lieutenant nicknamed Fat Jackie by his comrades, had fled to Bolton in February 2003 after a feud amongst loyalist terror groups in Belfast.

Adair had been a commander of the West Belfast 'C' Company of the Ulster Freedom Fighters which had broken ranks with the rest of the UFF.

John Gregg and Robert Carson, members of the opposing faction, were then shot dead in a taxi in Belfast, and Adair's group was held responsible.

Curry, originally from Moreton on the Wirral, blamed "Adair's lot" for the killings, he told police.

A bomb was placed under Thompson's red Ford Escort, which was parked outside his home in Halliwell, Bolton, on December 16 2003.

He got into the car to go to work and after going over a speed bump heard a loud bang. A small detonator had exploded, but not with enough force to set off the bomb, which was placed directly under the driver's seat.

Earlier in the three-week trial prosecutor Mark Ellison said: "It was only that technical failure, clearly we suggest wholly unintended by those intending to blow him up, that enabled him to walk away from what would have been very serious injuries or death."

CCTV evidence showed Curry to have gone on " scouting trips" to Thompson's address and DNA evidence from components of the bomb device was linked to the defendant.

Curry, a divorced father-ofone, regularly visited Ulster and planned to sell his home and live in Belfast where "his type of people lived," he told police.

The court also heard that he had a tattoo on his back in memory of Gregg and Carson.

Police recovered photos of him posing with loyalist banners including flags showing UFF West Midlands and Midlands Brigade.

Sentencing Curry, of Bilton Grange Road, Yardley, Mr Justice Leveson told him he would serve at least two-thirds of the 20 year sentence.

He said: "Had Mr Thompson been killed you would have been guilty of murder and facing a very substantial term in prison.

"You became involved in what was, quite clearly, an act of revenge following the murder of your friends John Gregg and Robert Carson." Mr Justice Leveson said the car bomb attack had been an act of terrorism and the fact that Curry had taken the law into his own hands was " utterly unacceptable".

Speaking after the verdict Chief Superintendent Dave Lea, from Bolton police, said: "The events were no doubt terrifying for the victim and his family but also for residents in Bolton who feared for their safety.

"It was fortunate that this device did not explode properly as Mr Thompson could have been left with potentially fatal injuries."

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