07 March 2006

SCOTS IRA BOMBER BACK ON THE STREET

Daily Record

Ex-soldier is still wanted by police

By Steven Ventura
7 March 2006

AN IRA Scot jailed for six-and-a-half years for a bomb attack on his old army base is back on the streets after just 27 months in prison.

Former soldier Michael Dickson, 41, who was once Scotland's most wanted man, was jailed for a 1996 mortar attack on barracks in Osnabruck in Germany.

After six years on the run, he was finally arrested in the Czech Republic driving a lorry-load of contraband cigarettes and tobacco.

At his 2003 trial in Celle, Germany, Greenock-born Dickson, nicknamed Dixie, was found guilty of attempted murder and setting off an explosion.

It was bungled and no one was injured.

He was released from Celle maximum security prison last Friday.

Last night, his whereabouts were unknown but he has been in contact with Republican group the West of Scotland Band Alliance to thank them for their support.

He said: "I would like to put on record my sincere thanks for all their support over the last three years."

His release, though, could be short-lived as he is still wanted in connection with other terror atrocities.

Police said he is a suspect in the 1996 car bombing of the Army's Ulster HQ at Thiep-val Barracks in Lisburn in which a soldier died and 34 civilians were injured.

He is also wanted over the attempted murder of IRA informer Martin McGartland on Tyneside in 1999.

The IRA claimed responsibility for firing three homemade mortar shells at the Osnabruck barracks.

They could have caused massive casualties but just one of the devices went off.

Dickson rented a flat and vehicles for the attack. The court heard he was a member of a five-strong IRA active service unit.

Dickson served as an HGV driver with the 44 Field Support Squadron, 35 th regiment Royal Engineers.

He became an Irish citizen when he married Ann O'Driscoll in 1992 and they lived in Port Glasgow.

Dickson worked for delivery firm DHL in Paisley for several years but transferred to their Belfast depot when he split with his wife in 1995.

His mother Kathleen, who ran a guest house in Hillhead, Glasgow, also fled abroad after the hunt for her son began.

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