ONE of the “bungling” bombers who sent a letter bomb to Celtic manager Neil Lennon is a Catholic hating crime clan lieutenant who was targeted by elite cops.
Neil McKenzie, far from being the amateur portrayed in court, was monitored by security services for his links to Loyalists and was known to elite crime squads as a serious and organised career criminal.
Defence agents for the men tried to paint them as wannabe terrorists, bombers who were out of their depth, but Neil McKenzie was even followed abroad during a lengthy undercover crime squad operation.
Officers investigating the bombing campaign also found hate-filled internet sites which spoke of ”stopping Scotland becoming a Catholic country” yet neither man faced religiously motivated charges by the close of the trial.
Police linked McKenzie to the Jamie Daniel crime clan in Glasgow and to Loyalist groups in Belfast.
He was a trusted courier of Jamie Daniel and both men have trafficked drugs and guns together using Loyalist networks in the UK and beyond.
Daniel relies heavily on the Adams family London syndicate along with the Greek-Cypriot Arif clan to move his drugs. But whenever his illegal cargo is landed in Ireland he deals with Loyalists to ensure it’s transported across the water to blight Scotland’s cities and towns.
The fact that so much was known about McKenzie gave detectives a strong foothold in the case.
In 1994 Neil McKenzie was sent on a drugs run to Spain by Jamie Daniel. McKenzie took his girlfriend and both were being watched by officers from the elite Scottish Crime Squad. They spent a week in Spain before returning to the UK by ferry into the port of Dover.
As they were disembarking Jamie Daniel drove south from Glasgow to Annan Motorway Service Station. Daniel, a Rangers supporter, met McKenzie in the services carpark and a bag was handed over to the crime boss.
It was then that undercover officers called in the strike to arrest all three and recover the bag, believing it to be full of class A drugs.
But as officers pounced Daniel started laughing, and when cops opened the bag they found it contained duty free booze.
Daniel had been conducting a “dummy run” to see if he was under surveillance, and it had proved priceless to him. McKenzie, the “bungling” bomber at the centre of the Lennon trial, was a trusted lieutenant and had played a key role in Daniel’s scheme.
Officers involved had no choice but to move in, fearful that a large quantity of drugs could have flooded the streets of Scotland had they not acted.
The man who handed Jamie Daniel the bag was to become a central part of the police and security services probe into the letter bombing campaign. He has strong connections to anti-Catholic groups in Scotland and in Northern Ireland, and his Facebook page shows the crest of an armed Loyalist force as his profile picture.
Comments attributed to him on Facebook and Twitter also spout hatred of Catholics and Celtic FC.
Police and security services in the UK are already aware of strong links between Jamie Daniel’s clan and Loyalist forces in the North of Ireland, particularly in the transportation and dealing of drugs.
A source said: “The information we had on McKenzie opened the inquiry up. The fact that we had a suspect who we knew so much about was great news. All of these men have strong links with Ulster loyalist paramilitary groups and some of them have been actively involved in serious organised crime, if not terrorism then transportation and supply of large amounts of drugs and guns.
“There can be no doubt that this campaign was anti-Catholic in nature and the links to the people we had in our sights confirmed this.”
Devices were sent to Celtic FC boss Lennon, QC Paul McBride and former MSP Trisha Godman. Luckily all were intercepted.
Guilty: Trevor Muirhead, 44.
Dad-of-six Muirhead, 44, of Kilwinning, Ayrshire, and McKenzie, 42, of Saltcoats, were motivated by a vicious hatred of Celtic FC and Catholics. Muirhead, a van driver known as “Big Trev”, is a former member of the Orange Order and the Apprentice Boys of Londonderry. His home was full of Rangers and loyalist material.
Guilty: Neil McKenzie, 42, a career criminal with Loyalist links.