Thu. Oct 6th, 2022
A CONVICTED thug orchestrated a murder plot from behind bars as revenge for his brother being stabbed.

Robert Warnock was behind three firebombings in Greenock, Inverclyde in 2020.

Robert Warnock was behind three firebombings in Greenock
Warnock with brother Reece
The Sun

The scene of one of the firebomb attacks[/caption]

His 18 year-old sibling Reece Warnock had been brutally attacked in August 2019 in nearby Port Glasgow.

Andrew Sutherland and his half-brother Leonard Cole jnr were identified as the culprits.

Properties and relatives linked to the pair were then targeted.

The first was a petrol bomb attack on July 13, 2020 at a flat in Union Street, Greenock where Cole’s parents Rosaleen Sutherland and Leonard snr were at the time.

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A drug user called George Miller was then recruited to target the property again on September 14 that year.

After pouring petrol on the door and through the letterbox, Miller ended up dead after setting himself on fire.

The final incident was at a flat in the town’s Cumberland Road on September 19, 2020.

Ellen Cole as well as two others – including a child – were there at the time.

There were also further threats to shoot Cole jnr and individuals linked to him.

Warnock was able to help organise the attacks having taken advantage of prisoners being allowed mobile phone access during the pandemic.

He was in HMP Shotts at the time serving a 11 year jail-term for attempting to murder a woman and assaulting her partner.

He now faces another lengthy sentence after he pled guilty to a charge of conspiracy to murder.

Warnock had initially gone on trial at the High Court in Glasgow with others involved in the plot.

Craig McFarlane, 26 – his trusted right-hand man on the street – along with Cain Carr, 23, were today/yesterday found guilty of the same charge.

Drew Darling, 29, and Brendan O’Donnell, 24, pled guilty during the trial to attempted murder relating to involvement in the July 13 attack at Union Street.

Kieran McAnally, 26, admitted to the same crime in connection with the petrol bombing at Cumberland Street on September 19 2020.

The six were remanded in custody and will be sentenced by judge Lord Mulholland in Edinburgh on October 26.

Lee Heron, 25, had also stood trial, but he had his not guilty pleas accepted earlier in the case.

The murder plot ran between July 2020 and October 2020.

In his closing speech to jurors, prosecutor Paul Kearney KC said: “The Crown contends you have heard evidence that clearly shows Robert Warnock was the prime instigator of this conspiracy.

“It was motivated by a desire for revenge for what was done to his younger brother by those two men in August 2019.

“As he was in prison, he relied on others…to ensure these targeted attacks could take place.

“This was whether that was by playing an active role in the attacks themselves or in the planning or by recruiting others to play their part.”

Jurors heard there was “compelling and irrefutable evidence” that McFarlane was in phone contact with Warnock while he was in jail.

McFarlane said to have “boasted” about involvement in the July 13 attack.

Mr Kearney: “In another call, he appears to be panicking about police gathering CCTV from the school across the road from his mother’s house.”

McFarlane stated to Warnock: “I’m f****d for this. The CID are across at the school checking cameras.

“They have got the driver – that daft Drew Darling.”

McFarlane also said to have helped recruit George Miller, 46, who was offered high-quality cocaine to take part.

Warnock also got in touch with Miller stating to him: “Just gonnae do that for Reecey boy.”

But, Miller ended up burning himself to death – footage of it played during the trial.

In September 2020 – days before the Cumberland Street attack – McFarlane spoke to one associate about Miller’s death.

He added it was “all kicking off” and that there will be “loads more this week”.

One associate further described the chaos as “ridiculous” and “out of hand”.

McFarlane’s own flat was firebombed on September 28 during tit for tat violence.

But, jurors heard McFarlane claimed to police that he was unaware of “any feud” with the Cole and Sutherland family.

He said to police at the time: “I’ve heard rumours, gossip and seen stuff on social media, but I do not know anything about it myself.”

Mr Kearney said others, such as Darling, McAnally, O’Donnell and Carr – were “prepared to conspire” in the crimewave.

McFarlane was a “trusted and active” part of the mob.

He added: “In my submission, each of the three attacks demonstrated, at the very least, a wickedly reckless indifference for the lives of those within the properties.”

McFarlane had lodged a special defence of alibi.

Carr had claimed he had only travelled from Kirkintilloch in East Dunbartonshire on the night of the Cumberland Street attack to buy drugs.

Andrew Sutherland was jailed for six years in November 2020 after he pled guilty to the attempted murder of Reece Warnock.

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Cole jnr was cleared at a separate court case.

Reece Warnock died in an unrelated death.

Lord Mulholland told the six: “Please be under no misapprehension – this was a campaign of gangsterism.

“Lengthy sentences of imprisonment will be imposed.”

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