Tartan terrorist found hanging in cell hours before facing court


THE notorious Tartan terrorist convicted 11 years ago of masterminding a Scottish National Liberation Army terror campaign, committed suicide in his prison cell yesterday, only hours before he was due to appear in court on charges relating to a security alert linked to the opening of the Scottish Parliament.

Andrew McIntosh was found hanging in his cell at Aberdeen’s Craiginches prison, shortly before was scheduled to appear at the city’s sheriff court on firearms charges.

He was one of three men arrested ten days ago - the day the Queen performed the opening ceremony at the Scottish Parliament - after a massive police operation involving officers from the Grampian and Lothian and Borders forces.

McIntosh, 49, was jailed for 12 years at the High Court in Aberdeen in December 1993, after being convicted of being the tartan terrorist commander behind a ruthless letter-bomb and bomb-hoax campaign in Scotland and England.

A xenophobic nationalist extremist who hated the English, he was part of an SNLA conspiracy aimed at coercing ministers at Westminster to establish a separate government in Scotland.

McIntosh, a former army reservist, was working as an oil- company courier when he was arrested ten years ago and charged with being part of a terrorist campaign to try to secure Scotland’s freedom from Westminster rule.

During a series of interviews with detectives in 1993, he boasted: "I am a volunteer soldier with the SNLA. I am a cell commander. The actions we have taken are directed at those people who are actively working against the interests of Scotland. Whatever I did, I did in the line of duty."

He was convicted of sending letter bombs to the Scottish Office in Edinburgh, the Dounreay nuclear plant in Caithness and the headquarters of Anglian Water in Huntingdon, and of targeting improvised mortar devices at the offices of four oil companies in Aberdeen.

McIntosh was further convicted of illegally possessing a Kalashnikov assault rifle, a sawn-off shotgun and a pistol as part of a lethal arsenal of weapons and ammunition - including CS riot gas cartridges - that was recovered at his home in George Street, Aberdeen.

The trial was told that the three-month campaign of terror he helped plan and execute brought chaos to Scotland’s four major cities and endangered the lives of men and women whose offices had been targeted by the extremist cell he led.

Lord Morison, the trial judge, told McIntosh: "I take into account that your activities have not resulted in deaths or severe injury to anyone, and, had that been the case, the sentence which I propose to impose would have been considerably longer.

"But these activities have caused very serious disruption in Scotland and very serious alarm. The crimes of which you have been convicted are extremely grave ones."

McIntosh was released in 1999 after serving six years of his sentence.

He was living in a high-rise flat in Aulton Court, in the Seaton area of Aberdeen, when he was arrested on firearms charges on 9 October, shortly before the Queen officially opened the Holyrood building. He was remanded in custody last Monday and was due to make a second court appearance yesterday. But he was found dead early yesterday morning when prison officers checked his cell.

A spokesman for the Scottish Prison Service said: "A prisoner on remand was found dead in his cell this morning at HM Prison Aberdeen, Craiginches. Andrew McIntosh, 49, from Aberdeen, was remanded on 11 October at Aberdeen Sheriff Court. Police and next of kin have been informed."

The spokesman, who refused to say whether or not McIntosh had been on suicide watch, added: "A fatal accident inquiry will be held in due course."

A Grampian Police spokeswoman said: "We attended at Craiginches prison after the report of the sudden death of Andrew McIntosh. Next of kin have been informed and a post- mortem will be carried out.

"Police investigations are continuing but it appears there are no suspicious circumstances. A report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal."

McIntosh was recently named as organiser of a group called "The Scottish Patriots" which has applied to stage a march through the centre of Aberdeen on 28 November - on the same day and along the same route as a proposed march by the far-right National Front.

One of the men arrested with him ten days ago made a second appearance in private at Aberdeen Sheriff Court yesterday afternoon. Alan McIntosh, 50, appeared in connection with alleged contraventions of the Firearms Act, 1968, and the Explosive Substances Act, 1883. He was fully committed for trial and released on bail.

The Crown Office said the other man, Graeme Robert Otterson, 32, from Aberdeen, who is known as MacOtter, had been released from custody.

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