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Couple facing charges relating to blast bomb device will face Crown Court

The charges arise after an improvised blast bomb was allegedly uncovered in a kitchen cupboard at the Tandragee home of one of the accused

Armagh Courthouse

A couple who face charges relating to the discovery of a blast bomb device in Tandragee back in 2019 will face Crown Court proceedings next month.

The pair appeared at Armagh Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Newry on Tuesday, for the purposes of a preliminary enquiry (PE), the legal process during which a case is referred to the higher court.

Ross Hardy, 23,  of Scarvagh Locks, Scarva, and Rebecca Gallagher Gregory, 21, from Woodview Park in Tandragee, are jointly charged with possessing explosives under suspicious circumstances on November 30, 2019.

Hardy faces a further charge of making an explosive device under suspicious circumstances, between November 20, of 2018, and December 1, of 2019.

The charges arise after an improvised blast bomb was allegedly uncovered in a kitchen cupboard at Gregory’s home.

Bomb disposal experts made the device safe and recovered it for further examination.

Previous courts have heard that while Gregory claimed she had been told to hide the device by an anonymous male, Hardy had made “full and frank confessions” to having built the device about a year ago at Lovers Lane in Tandragee.

It is claimed he told police that “he had found himself in difficulty, physically around that time – he had been picked on in fights” so he had built the bomb “intending to use it, if required, to frighten people who sought to fight him”.

Prosecution also revealed that an initial examination indicated it had been constructed using powder from fireworks with a fuse from a banger and that it also contained shrapnel such as screws, batteries and a “small torch”.

With Hardy appearing via videolink from Maghaberry and Gregory from her solicitor’s office, both made no objection to the holding of a preliminary enquiry.

Prosecution submitted that based on the papers before the court there was a prima facie case to answer.

Defence counsel made no contrary submissions.

Deputy District Judge Philip Mateer said that he was satisfied there was a prima facie case to answer.

The defendants were released on continuing bail, with Hardy yet to perfect his, to appear before Newry Crown Court on May 25 for arraignment.

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