Teenage Pipebomber Jailed

A teenager who used an improvised explosive device similar to those seen in Afghanistan to blow up a car over a neighbours' dispute has been jailed for seven years.

Robert White, 19, placed the homemade bomb under a car owned by neighbours of his aunt and uncle in Eastleigh, Hampshire, because of a long-running dispute about a broken fence.

White created the device using a scaffold pipe welded shut with powder believed to be from fireworks inside and set it off.

Jailing him, Judge Peter Ralls QC, said the attack was "premeditated and carefully planned'' and that it could have caused serious injury or death if anyone had been near the explosion.

The blast in April this year sent shrapnel around 30 metres (98ft) and substantially damaged the car.

Calling the case "bizarre'', the judge said White had an unhealthy interest in guns and explosives and was a danger to the public. He ordered him to be placed under extended licence for five years on his release.

"I have no doubt you were fully aware of the very serious effect that such an explosion would have,'' he told White at Southampton Crown Court.

White had denied the charge of causing an explosion likely to endanger property or life but was convicted by a jury.

During the trial, Stephen Parish, prosecuting, told the court that White, from Truro Rise, Bishopstoke, near Southampton, had told friends he planted the bomb because a neighbour had been "harassing'' his uncle.

The argument was between White's aunt and uncle, John and Jacqueline Hallett, and their neighbours Yvonne West and Sean Konczak, although Mr White's relatives had nothing to do with the bomb, the court heard.

Mr Parish said:

"It all started with a fence panel being blown over. It finished with a car being blown up.

"It started with something as trivial as a fence being blown over by high winds. There was a loss of privacy, there were arguments and complaints to the council and so on and so forth.''

Mr Parish said a Royal Navy bomb disposal expert likened the device to those used by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The trial was told that White had handed himself into police and that a search of his house found fireworks, including a Proton Bomb, a disc saw, pipes and a metal press which were used on the bomb.

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