Neil Lennon trial: accused ‘had Loyalist flags and certificate’

ITEMS recovered from the house of a man accused of plotting to kill Celtic manager Neil Lennon by sending improvised explosive devices through the post suggested the occupants had “obvious Loyalist sympathies”, a court has heard.

The jury at the High Court in Glasgow was shown various items recovered from Trevor Muirhead’s house in Kilwinning, Ayrshire, following his arrest in May last year.

The 43-year-old is on trial along with Neil McKenzie, 42, accused of conspiracy to murder Lennon and two other high-profile supporters of the club – the late Paul McBride QC and former MSP Trish Godman – in a parcel bomb plot. They deny the charges against them.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Items recovered from Muirhead’s home in a dawn search included Ulster flags and a commemorative picture with the initials UVF on it.

The court was also shown an oath of allegiance: to the Scottish Unionist Association, dating from September 2009.

The jury was told it read: “I, Trevor Muirhead, am a Protestant by birth and being convinced of a fiendish plot by Republicans to destroy my heritage, swear to defend my comrades and my country by any and all means against Republicans and Republican offshoots that may be of similar intent.”

The document was apparently signed by a “John Knox” and a “William Boyne”. Gordon Jackson QC, who is defending Muirhead, likened the pictures shown to the court to TV show Through The Keyhole.

He said: “The idea was to take lots of pictures of a house then work out what sort of person lived in that house. It would seem that there were people who lived in that house of Loyalist sympathies. They obviously had sympathies on one side of the divide.”

He went on to say that one room in particular – a bedroom where three Unionist-type flags were hanging and the commemorative picture was found – was “obviously a bedroom of someone who is extremely supportive of the Loyalist side of things”. He added that the banners and posters were the type of thing that might be seen “on the Orange walk”.

Mr Jackson was cross-examining the scene examiner who took the photographs, Karen Johnston. He asked her whether she had been asked to photograph any “guns, explosives, or books, manuals or instructions on how to make explosives”. She replied that she had not.

The court was told a bottle of cream peroxide was also recovered from Muirhead’s house during police searches. Police Sergeant Alan Wilkie said the item was found “in a black bin liner in a cupboard”.

The officer, who helped search the house, also said he recovered a black woollen balaclava, a computer unit, two mobile phones and a laptop from the property.

The trial continues.