Cheltenham, Gloustershire

Keeping an eye on the media coverage of July 7th, and taking the media to task over their inaccuracies, mis-leading statements and distortions. Post all your complaints and responses here! If you spot inaccuracies in the media coverage, here's the place to tell us about it.

Cheltenham, Gloustershire

Joined: Dec 4 2005, 05:55 PM

Jul 19 2012, 02:50 AM #1

Grandad jailed for making 7:7 style explosives in Cheltenham

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

GRANDAD Martin Counsell has been jailed after he made explosives with the same substance used in the July 7, 2005, bombings.

The 52-year-old "crank" sparked a terror alert which saw 600 people evacuated in Cheltenham.

Gloucester Crown Court heard the home-made improvised explosive device (IED) bombs were found in two garages after police had a tip off he was trying to make himself a fake MI6 identity card.

Jailing him for two-and-a-half years yesterday, Judge Jamie Tabor QC said: "The thought of you, an alcoholic, working in your grubby garage creating dangerous explosives is very disturbing indeed."

Prosecutor Lisa Hennessy said the electrical engineer, of Brooklyn Road, created the mini bombs with TATP (tri-acetone tri-peroxide), the same substance used in the London Tube bombings in 2005.

Judge Tabor told Counsell, who once ran his own burglar alarm firm, he was satisfied he had no connection with terrorism.

The judge said he accepted Counsell was lonely and depressed.

"As you became more isolated from society you became what the Victorians described as a crank. You had an obsessive fear of burglars," he said.

"I am quite satisfied you gave a truthful account when you said you created them to deter burglars.

"I am also satisfied you created them with the intention of scaring rather than injuring."

But he added: "You chose to make explosives because you were bored and you were fascinated by the whole process and I suspect regarded it as something of a challenge.

He went on: "Your actions particularly in the present climate disturbed and frightened residents.

"Your actions undermined their confidence causing them in some cases to be really frightened and anxious and some remain so even to this day, as witnessed by the fact 200 people attended a public meeting arranged by the police. That gives you some idea of the scale of fear you caused."

Counsell pleaded guilty to a charge that between September 1, 2011, and May 12 this year, he had made TATP "in circumstances to give rise to suspicion that he was not making it for a lawful object".

Mrs Hennessy said: "When Gloucestershire Constabulary received a tip off from the Metropolitan Police that a man in Gloucestershire was seeking to create a fake identity card for MI6 they had little idea what they were to find.

"The man in question, Mr Counsell, had been buying various items on eBay that indicated he might be making explosive devices."

She said on May 11 police searched his address and various detonators were found.

On his computer were four documents downloaded from the internet giving instructions on how to make explosives.

"His internet browsing history showed numerous searches dating from August 2011 on how to make small bombs and where to buy the ingredients," she said.

Police searched two garages in Buttermere Close and in the first she said they found four improvised explosive devices and were then tested in controlled explosions.

She said: "The debris contained a substance called TATP which Counsell had managed to manufacture.

"This is a very sensitive high explosive which can be detonated by static, spark, flame, impact or friction."

She added: "It is worth noting this compound was used in the London tube bombings.

"Also at the garage was a selection of chemicals and various detonators, presumably for use in making further IEDs.

"There was also what appeared to be a home made rocket launcher described by Mr Counsell as a potato gun."

Another detonator was found in the other garage.

She said Counsell was interviewed for days by counter terrorist officers and told them he had made 10 of the devices and had tested five in the garden.

"He said he had done this in order to create booby traps for burglars after being frightened that someone had got into his house when his dogs started barking in the night," he said.

Lloyd Jenkins, defending, said the interrogation "turned his world upside down".

"It was his innocent DIY solution to a perceived threat of being burgled that got him into this trouble," he said.

"He did not have any idea what a can of worms he would be opening."
I posted a comment saying Um it was HMTD that was suggested, etc.
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