Petrol bomber recognised by police after mask knocked off

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A petrol bomber who was recognised by police when his mask came off during rioting in the Bogside area of Londonderry is due to be sentenced at the city’s Crown Court today.

John Paul Moore, 23, whose address was given as care of Maghaberry Prison, pleaded guilty to one charge of riotous assembly, five charges of possessing petrol bombs in suspicious circumstances and four charges of throwing petrol bombs at police officers and damaging a police vehicle.

A prosecution barrister told Judge Elizabeth McCaffrey at Monday’s plea and sentence hearing that, during a sustained period of rioting on the night of July 12 and early morning of July 13 last year, Moore had been struck with “an energy projectile” fired by the police. The impact of the strike, she said, knocked off a makeshift mask Moore was wearing and he was immediately recognised by police.

When he was subsequently arrested and interviewed by police and shown ground level CCTV footage, Moore told police to “prove it”. During a second interview, he told police: “I couldn’t give a f**k”.

The prosecutor said up to 200 people had taken part in the disturbances and many of them, including Moore, threw petrol bombs at police lines.

Defence barrister Stephen Mooney said the defendant, who was addicted to drugs and alcohol at the time, gave in to temptation when presented with the opportunity to commit the offences, but now apologised to the police and public for his offending.

Moore was remanded in custody and is due to be sentenced today.