Twisted Donal Billings sent a chilling warning to police boasting that he would attack the Queen as she settled down to a banquet during a state visit to Ireland.
And on the eve of the Queen’s visit, the warped 66-year-old planted a bomb on a bus bound for the city that would have caused horrific bloodshed had it not been intercepted by officers.
Billings, who has no known links with dissident groups, was last night starting an eight and a half year sentence for the failed explosives plot and mortar threats.
His terrifying haul of weapons and ammunition, which included a
Czech-made pistol, pipe and timer, was put on display by police to show how serious he was about the attacks.
Getty ImagesThe visit was the first by a British monarch since 1911A court heard how Billings called officers with his warning in May 2011 as the Queen prepared for the banquet with Prince Philip, Irish president Mary McAleese and her husband Martin.
He said: I’m a member of the ¬Republican Brotherhood, Squad A. Two mortars are set for Dublin Castle at 8pm. This is for the Queen of blood and war of Iraq.
A few days earlier – just hours before the 90-year-old monarch arrived for her visit, Billings sneaked his pipe bomb on to a bus as it stopped at a train station on its way to Dublin.
There were 31 people on board and police said the device, hidden in the luggage compartment, had the potential for great ¬destruction.
It comprised a ¬firework timer switch, a copper pipe stuffed with gun powder and a two-litre plastic bottle of petrol.
The bus was stopped by police five miles from the city after ¬Billings phoned them with a warning.
Dublin’s criminal court of justice heard if it had gone off it would have resulted in the “complete destruction of the vehicle in question.
Mr Justice Tony Hunt branded the move an outrageous, highly ¬irresponsible and dangerous act.
He added: It recklessly exposed passengers, staff and members of the emergency services to very significant risk of serious injury or death.
Billings, who insisted on being ¬questioned by detectives in Irish, has previous convictions for possessing explosives in Northern Ireland in 1973.
He was sentenced to eight years at the time.
After his mortar warning, no devices were found at Dublin Castle. Billings, of Drumlish, Co Longford, was convicted of the bomb plot and making a hoax call over the Queen threat following a two-week trial.
He was also found guilty of making fake threats related to devices supposedly placed at a Sinn Fein office in Dublin, a bus station in the city and Cork airport.
Billings was given one, two, three and four years for each of those charges – to run concurrently.
The trial was heard in both English and Irish, after he invoked his right to be tried in Gaelic.
He had denied any involvement in the explosives or the phone calls.
After Billings was jailed, a Garda spokesman said: This ¬investigation highlights the ¬continuing significant challenges faced by gardai in the context of monitoring and bringing to justice persons who have the capability and intent of disrupting particular events and being reckless as to the potential lethal consequences of the use of improvised explosive devices.
The gardai would like to thank all the members of the public who assisted and co-operated with the security measures that were in place at the time of the Queen’s visit.
Detective Inspector Finlay added: This investigation highlights the ¬challenges faced, and particularly in relation to this one, when you had an individual who was capable and intent on causing disruption to a state visit.
Billings was caught after police traced phone records and SIM cards.
He was placed under surveillance and arrested that day at a supermarket in the county town of Longford.
He told police he had only just found the SIM card in the car park.
A Garda spokesman said the ¬investigation was centred in Longford and involved local officers as well as specialist national units.
The pistol police put on display was found in the back of a computer seized at his home.
Also on show from his arsenal were a number of bullets, a firework timer switch for the bomb and a two-litre plastic bottle filled with petrol.
The copper pipe he had intended to cause mayhem with was discovered stuffed full of gunpowder.
The mobile phones Billings used to make the hoax bomb threats were also put on display.
She won’t allow security to keep her from people
by KEN WHARFE, Diana’s bodyguard
THE Queen has made it quite clear she doesn’t want to be cocooned in a security bubble that denies her access to the public.
We always worked around that and we haven’t had any major problems since Princess Anne was nearly kidnapped when an armed man attacked her car on the Mall outside Buckingham Palace in 1974.
She is our longest reigning monarch and there has never been an attempt on her life.
Scotland Yard took over her protection early in her reign and since then it has always been about dialogue between the police and courtiers to get the balance right.
The Queen doesn’t want US-style protection, she wants openness so she can have contact with the public. We have had a few incidents of people trying to get into the Palace and that will happen again in the future.
Whenever it occurs the Home Secretary will say something about reviewing security but nothing ever really changes because the Queen doesn’t want snarling dogs and lookout towers at the Palace.
She relies on the expertise of the Yard which provides her with security.
HM the Queen happily takes part in selfies – that endears her to her public – in the belief that her security team would not allow her safety to be compromised.