Castlebar woman cleared of making false bomb warning
Emergency caller claimed bomb at 10 Downing Street
A CASTLEBAR woman accused of falsely reporting that a bomb was ‘ready to go off’ in at 10 Downing Street was cleared after the prosecution failed to prove there was no bomb at the location after the report was made.
Kathleen Kelly (49) of 2 Pound Grove, Newport Road, Castlebar, was accused of giving false information to gardaí. She had reported to Letterkenny Garda Station that a device was primed and ready to go off at 10 Downing Street. The report was made through the Emergency Call Answering Service at 12.25am on April 13, 2013, from a mobile phone that gardaí say was registered to Ms Kelly.
The call was made days after the death of former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, and the report made reference to the hunger strikers.
“[A] device is primed and ready to go off at Whitehall, at 10 Downing Street for what she did to the Hunger Strikers on Tuesday next at 11.10am,” the female caller said, before hanging up.
The call was traced to a mobile phone belonging to Ms Kelly, but when interviewed by gardaí, she denied making the call. However, she admitted the person’s voice sounded like hers.
When the case came before Castlebar District Court last week, Ms Kelly indicated that she was contesting the charge and was representing herself. However, when the case was called later in the sitting, Ms Kelly was absent from the court and Gardaí informed Judge Kevin Kilraine, they were unable to locate her in the environs of the courthouse.
Judge Kilraine allowed the case to proceed in her absence.
Following the phonecall, an investigation was undertaken by Letterkenny Gardaí and the call was traced to a mast cell located near Castlebar. Permission was granted from Vodafone to secure the phone records and Jim Forkan of Vodafone confirmed the phone was registered to Kay Kelly with a date of birth of August 11, 1965.
Detective Garda Paul Lynch said he visited Ms Kelly at her home on November 2, 2013 and arrested her and she was later interviewed in Castlebar Garda Station.
When asked about the telephone call she said she could not remember making the call and that she would remember if she did.
She told the gardaí that she lived near Brighton at the time of the Brighton Bomb, and she had been asked by police if she was involved in Republican activity. When asked by Det Garda Lynch if she was ever involved in Republican activity, she denied she was other than to buy An Phoblacht when she lived in Manorhamilton.
Ms Kelly told the gardaí she attended AA meetings, and that she had lost her phone at a meeting and was subsequently not in possession of it at the time of the phone call.
When Judge Kilraine raised the question of there being no evidence that the report was false, he allowed Det Garda Lynch to be recalled but the garda said he had nothing to offer. Judge Kilraine said he appreciated that the prosecution had put a lot of effort into the case, but he felt the essential ingredient to make the case was absent. He said that he had heard no evidence that the report was false beyond all reasonable doubt, and he dismissed the charge.