Three Imprisoned for 25 Years for Plot to Kill Ulster Minister
Oct. 28, 1988
WINCHESTER, England (AP) _ Two Irish men and a woman convicted of conspiring to kill Britain's top official in Northern Ireland were given 25-year prison sentences today.
Judge Swinton Thomas said Martina Shanahan, 22, and John McCann, 24, of Dublin and Finbarr Cullen, 27, of Maynooth conspired to murder Northern Ireland Secretary Tom King and other unidentified soldiers, politicians and judges.
The three defendants were convicted Thursday by a 10-2 jury vote after a two-week trial. They stood impassively in the dock today as the sentences were read in Winchester Crown Court.
Defense lawyers pledged to appeal the convictions and sentences.
Police arrested the three defendants on Aug. 30, 1987, near King's home in Wiltshire County, southern England.
Prosecutor Alan Rawley said the tent at the trio's campsite contained a list written on cigarette papers of politicians, soldiers and judges in mainland Britain. They also had $8,000 in cash, binoculars, a radio that could pick up police frequencies, and a woollen hat with eyeholes, he said.
The prosecutor said they had the addresses and auto license numbers of people on the list, the names of military facilities, and locations of offices of the governing Conservative Party.
No evidence was produced in the trial that the trio belonged to the outlawed Irish Republican Army, which is fighting to drive the British from Northern Ireland. No weapons or explosives were found.
However, the British domestic news agency, Press Association, reported that the three had a history of support for Sinn Fein, the IRA's legal political arm.