Bombers get long jail terms

TWO caravan park workers have been jailed for more than ten years between them for planting a pipe bomb outside a family home when all the occupants were inside.

TWO caravan park workers have been jailed for more than ten years between them for planting a pipe bomb outside a family home when all the occupants were inside.

Glen Hockings, 33, and John Wilson, 26, targeted the detached house in Catchpole Close, Kessingland, in the mistaken belief someone living there had damaged their cars, Ipswich Crown Court heard yesterday.

The men, who worked at Kessingland Beach Holiday Park at the time of the attack, made bombs from copper piping filled with gunpowder from birdscarers, it was alleged.

The devices caused an explosion which blew the front window out of the home and left the occupants terrified.

Wilson, of Coopers Beach Caravan Park in East Mersea, Colchester, pleaded guilty to causing an explosion likely to endanger life or cause serious damage to property and a lesser charge of causing an explosion like to cause serious damage to property.

Hockings, of Beach Road, Kessingland, previously denied both offences but changed his plea during his trial in August and admitted his part in the attack.

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Wilson gave evidence for the prosecution against Hockings.

Judge John Holt sentenced Hockings to seven-and-a-half years in prison for the offences and jailed Wilson for three years. He said both would serve up to half their sentences before being released on licence.

The court heard how Peter Still, his wife Heather and their children were asleep in their home when they were awoken at 1.40am by a loud explosion and the sound of glass breaking.

Stephen Dyble, prosecuting, said after investigating, the family discovered extensive damage to a double glazed window in the lounge and glass scattered over the floor.

“Mr Still, fearing further explosions, caused his family to evacuate the house. The police were called. It was soon discovered inside the lounge there were the remains of a pipe bomb,” he said.

Mr Dyble told the court another pipe bomb had been placed on a Vauxhall Nova car belonging to the family which had blown in the rear window.

The court was told as a result of information to police Hockings was arrested on January 12 this year. Wilson was arrested on January 18.

Mr Dyble said both defendants said they had alibis but Wilson's former girlfriend provided police with a taped telephone conversation in which he had indicated he had “disposed” of further devices.

A text message allegedly from Wilson, who has never been in trouble with the police before, had also said: “It's been quite an explosive day for me.”

“The Crown says this is clearly a reference to the explosions caused,” said Mr Dyble.

The pair also boasted about occasions when they had test-fired the pipe bombs, it was alleged.

Wilson Pardoe, defending Wilson, said the men had built the pipe bombs to use as a joke outside each other's chalets.

He said the incident had been the result of “a stupid drunken evening” at which his client felt a “great deal of contrition”.

Miles Bennett, defending Hockings, said his client's behaviour was totally out of character and that he had considerable remorse and empathy for the victims.

Judge John Holt told the defendants that Mr Still would usually be sitting at his computer in the front window where the bomb exploded at that particular time, after arriving back from band practice.

“By extraordinary good fortune, band practice was cancelled that evening so he wasn't sitting in the lounge when you lit that pipe bomb,” he said.

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