A JURY in Leeds has cleared an alleged loyalist terrorist of plotting to blow up a member of Johnny `Mad Dog' Adair's paramilitary group.
William Shaw, 37, was accused of making a bomb that was put under the car of an associate of the notorious terrorist in a revenge attack.
But at Leeds Crown Court he was found not guilty of conspiracy to cause an explosion likely to endanger life.
His high-security, five-week trial was held behind closed doors and could not be reported until now.
Over a dozen armed police were in court throughout and every day police guarded junctions on the M62 as Shaw was taken to and from Strangeways Prison in Manchester.
The court heard that a car bomb was used to target John `Fat Jackie' Thompson, a member of loyalist paramilitary Adair's C Company, in December, 2003.
It was planted after Adair fled from Northern Ireland to England, when a bitter feud escalated between C Company and loyalist group SE Antrim UDA.
Members of C Company feared for their lives after they were blamed for the murders of rival paramilitaries John Gregg and Robert Carson.
The senior SE Antrim UDA members were shot in a Belfast taxi in February, 2003, after a fallout between the two groups.
After the murders, several C Company people were threatened and their homes attacked.
Adair was in jail at the time, but a number of other members fled and settled in Bolton.
A booby-trap bomb was fixed with magnets to the underside of Mr Thompson's car as he started a new life in Bolton.
As he left his home on the morning of December 17, 2003, a speed bump triggered the detonators and caused a small explosion.
Amazingly, he was uninjured after the full charge of the bomb did not go off.
The judge, Mr Justice Pitcher said the detonators failed to set off the main charge.
He added that if the bomb had gone off it could have killed Mr Thompson and the flying debris could have seriously injured passers-by.
DNA on one of the bomb ties was matched to Shaw. Police then raided his home in Northern Ireland.
The prosecution said the bomb had been built on Shaw's premises. But he denied taking part in building it or knowing who had.
In July last year, Stanley Curry was sentenced to 20 years at Preston Crown Court for his role in planting the device.
Shaw has now been cleared of all charges.