Lennon murder plot accused wants new lawyer

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A MAN accused of conspiring to murder Celtic manager Neil Lennon and high-profile supporters of the club told a court today he wants a different solicitor to represent him.

Trevor Muirhead, 43, and Neil McKenzie, 42, are accused of plotting to kill Lennon, former MSP Trish Godman and lawyer Paul McBride QC, as well as various people in the premises of Cairde Na Heireann in Glasgow, by sending improvised explosive devices to them.

It is alleged that the package, sent to Lennon at Celtic FC’s training centre in Lennoxtown, contained a plastic bottle containing the substance tri-acetone tri-peroxide with a wire attached and a plastic bag containing a bag of nails and a watch component.

The pair are also charged with sending similar devices to Ms Godman, at an address in Bridge of Weir, and to Cairde Na Heireann in Glasgow.

It is alleged the package sent to Mr McBride at Advocates’ Library, Parliament House, Edinburgh, comprised a plastic bottle containing petrol, with wire attached, a plastic glove, nails and a watch component.

They are charged with sending the devices with the intention that the contents would ignite and explode when opened, causing severe injury and death to the recipients.

The pair denied all charges against them when they appeared at Glasgow High Court last month and a trial was set for November.

Donald Findlay QC, representing McKenzie, said his client now wanted to instruct solicitor Matthew Berlow to represent him instead of Brian McCluskey.

Delivering the news, Mr Findlay compared himself to Pontius Pilate, who presided over the trial of Jesus Christ and washed his hands of responsibility for Jesus, and suggested Lord Glennie was Solomon, the biblical wise judge.

Mr Findlay said: “Mr McCluskey has legal aid and no instructions, and Mr Berlow has instructions and no legal aid. I am merely Pontius Pilate at the moment.

“I am of course aware of the trial date and the anxiety to preserve the trial date.”

He added: “It seems there’s only one way out of this, and stretching the biblical analogy a tad far, if I’m Pontius Pilate then my lord is Solomon.”

Lord Glennie then asked McKenzie who he wanted to represent him, and the accused replied: “Mr Berlow.”

The case was continued until next week to allow time to sort out the legal aid.

McKenzie, from Saltcoats in Ayrshire, and Muirhead, from Kilwinning, also face four further charges which include attempting to defeat the ends of justice and sending an item by post to Lennon at Celtic Park on March 3 or 4, intending him to think it was likely to “explode or ignite”.