Ex-IRA man gets six years for attack on UK base

4th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

4 April 2006, CELLE, GERMANY - A Northern Ireland man was sentenced to six years imprisonment on Tuesday for his involvement in an IRA bomb attack on a British army base in Germany 17 years ago.

4 April 2006

CELLE, GERMANY - A Northern Ireland man was sentenced to six years imprisonment on Tuesday for his involvement in an IRA bomb attack on a British army base in Germany 17 years ago.

Leonard Joseph Hardy, 45, was found guilty of attempted murder for his role in planning and carrying out the attack on Quebec barracks in Osnabrueck in June 1989.

No one was injured but the nighttime blast caused 77,000 euros (91,000 dollars) worth of damage.

The court heard that Hardy was a member of a five-man squad of the Provisional IRA which planted five bombs at the base, only one of which exploded.

The gang was spotted by a civilian watchman who confronted them. A scuffle ensued, during which one of the IRA men fired a shot, waking up soldiers and allowing them to escape.

"The intention was to kill as many soldiers of the British army as possible," the prosecution said in presenting its case.

"If the attackers had not been disturbed, they probably would have achieved their aim," said presiding judge Wolfgang Siolek in handing down the guilty verdict.

Prosecutors had demanded a seven-year sentence for Hardy, who pleaded guilty when the trial began on March 20, saying the attack was intended to draw attention to the British military presence in Northern Ireland.

Hardy was arrested in the Spanish resort of Torremolinos last summer, but allowed to return to Northern Ireland before surrendering to police in Germany early this year.

Four accomplices implicated in the attack were convicted of attempted murder in Germany in 1995 and jailed for between nine and 10 years.

The court in Celle said Hardy could remain free until the verdict is legally binding.

The court said it would also consider whether to take into account the four years and four months Hardy served in Northern Ireland for smuggling explosives in 1990, and may also suspend the remainder of the sentence handed down Tuesday.

DPA

Subject: German news

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