Saturday 19 January 2019

14-year-old skips school to buy machine gun

'A firearm was recovered.' (stock photo)
'A firearm was recovered.' (stock photo)

Michael McHugh

A 14-year-old boy in Derry left school at break time and tried to buy a Russian sub-machine gun and 100 rounds of ammunition via contacts made on the 'dark web', it was alleged in court yesterday.

Ballymena Magistrate's Court yesterday heard that the child was detained during a police operation at a retail park, in Coleraine, Co Derry, on Thursday morning.

A detective said the child had allegedly tried to give £150 cash to a police operative for the ammunition and felt he could purchase the gun.

The PSNI detective told the court: "Speaking to the operative, the defendant had stated that his intention was to intimidate a third party."

He appeared in court accused of attempting to possess a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

The offences are alleged to have occurred between March 27 and April 7 this year.

During an interview with police, the accused named a Jamaican man who he said asked him to collect blank ammunition and a deactivated gun. He said he ordered these through a selling platform on the dark web.

The accused told investigators he was to collect the deactivated gun in a few days, the detective constable said. She added: "It was, in fact, a live gun and live ammunition."

The detective added: "The account provided was somewhat unbelievable. He provided an account that he was purchasing a gun for a male that was a Jamaican national living in Northern Ireland who he was friendly with on Facebook."

None of his Facebook friends matched the name given for the 40-year-old friend.

A defence lawyer said there was no evidence presented surrounding what his client's intent was, and described police assertions as "guesswork".

The judge released the accused on bail of £500 and with conditions including not possessing any internet-enabled device.

Sunday Independent

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