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Old Bailey bomber back in jail

Old Bailey bomber Marian Price was back in jail today after a courtroom claim that she threatened to disrupt the Queen's visit this week.

Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson signed a new order sending her to prison as she appeared in court in Derry accused of encouraging support for an illegal organisation following a dissident republican rally in Derry on Easter Sunday.

Even though she was granted bail, the suspect, 57, was immediately rearrested by police after the court heard of fears that she would get involved in threats to disrupt the Queen's visit.

A detective sergeant said: "The 32 County Sovereignty Movement have openly said they will carry out acts to disrupt events occurring in the near future like the royal visit and that may mean future public order events which the defendant might involve herself in."

The defendant, from Stockman's Avenue in Belfast, denies addressing a meeting to encourage support for the IRA at the city cemetery in Derry on Easter Monday. The charge relates to a commemoration rally organised by the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, which provides political advice to the Real IRA, of which the defendant is secretary. Police said she held a piece of paper for a masked man who read a statement for the Real IRA.

Mr Paterson sent her back to prison following advice from the Parole Commissioners that the risk of serious harm posed by her had increased significantly. She has the right to challenge the commissioners' recommendation. She had been freed on licence from a life term.

Her solicitor Peter Corrigan told the court: "The Secretary of State last night revoked her licence. I believe this is not lawful and it drives a coach and horse through the presumption of innocence."

The defendant, whose name was given in court today as Marian McGlinchey, was jailed for the IRA bombing of the Old Bailey in London in 1973. She was released from prison in 1980 on medical grounds.

The detective sergeant told the District Judge Barney McElholm that the charge related to the defendant "holding a piece of paper for a masked man who read out a statement on behalf of the Real IRA".

The detective sergeant said that the man threatened assassination against anyone from the nationalist or republican community who may be perceived by the Real IRA to be a traitor. There were also threats within the speech against members of the republican movement involved in criminal acts who would claim the label of being members of the Real IRA. There were also threats to continue a military campaign.

The police witness said that the defendant stated that she had no knowledge that a masked man would be present at the event nor did she know of the content of the statement.

The officer said he opposed bail being granted because the Secretary of State had revoked the defendant's licence and because he believed she might abscond.

Applying for bail, Mr Corrigan said that at the Easter Monday event at the city cemetery, a masked man walked towards her and asked her to hold the written statement because it was very windy.

"We must not have a system in this country where there is internment on remand, we must have a system of due process," he said.

Mr Corrigan said his client's computers had been searched during a police search of her home.

"Nothing was found and nothing will be found," he said.

The district judge said while the contents of the speech were "vile and objectionable in the very least", there was no evidence that the defendant had prior knowledge of its content nor had she any record for absconding. He said in terms of any further offending, the defendant was not charged with membership of any proscribed organisation.

Judge McElholm released the defendant on her own bail of £5,000 together with two sureties, each of £10,000. As part of her bail conditions the defendant was ordered to surrender her passport and also ordered not to attend, organise or participate in any public or private event which might be attended by a member of a proscribed organisation or by a masked or armed person.

As the defendant was driven from the courthouse in a police car, about 50 supporters chanted "SS RUC" at dozens of police officers who were on duty both inside and outside the court building.

The Northern Ireland Secretary said his decision to return Price to prison was taken to ensure the safety of the people of Northern Ireland.

"The Government will not hesitate to use all the powers at its disposal under the law to counter the residual terrorist threat," he added.

She is due to appear in court again for a video link hearing on June 9.

PA Media