A GRANDDAD found guilty of plotting a napalm bomb attack after claiming he was repeatedly the target of anti-social behaviour is set to make a new start when he renews his wedding vows this weekend.
Nicholas Smith will reaffirm his love for his wife Dorothy this Sunday, 23 years to the day that they first tied the knot.
Mr Smith was found guilty of making an explosive substance with intent to endanger life after a Teesside Crown Court trial last September.
The 54-year-old had been interrupted by police while trying to make the explosive substance in his kitchen after eggs had again been thrown at his house, then in Horden’s Twelfth Street.
But he was freed in November when he was given a suspended sentence, after spending six months on remand.
Today Mr Smith and his wife, who moved to Horden from Worksop two years ago to be near their daughter Amanda Smith, 21, and grandchildren Casey Marie Bell, two, and one-year-old Cain Lee Bell, said they were looking at this weekend’s ceremony, at Horden Pentecostal Church, in Sunderland Road, as a “new beginning”.
The grandfather-of-11, who received help for a drink problem while in prison, described how he came up with the idea of renewing his vows while in custody.
Mr Smith, who described prison as a “shock to the system”, said: “When Dorothy came to visit me in prison, I had seen what I had been missing. I missed her that much.
“If it weren’t for her and my daughters, Amanda, Lisa and Anna, I think I would have ended it all.
“They have been my rock. Sunday marks a new start.”
He added that he “counts his blessings” at how lucky he is to have Dorothy and his family and that he got a suspended sentence.
The former school caretaker, who the court previously heard had been left depressed by the death of his daughter Melanie 24 years ago, which led to him drinking too much, said he will be toasting Sunday’s celebration with a cup of tea or coffee.
Dorothy, 63, who will wear a new cream strappy dress for the service, said: “Sunday will be the start of a new life. “I’m quite excited, but also getting a bit nervous.”
Nicholas and Dorothy, who have five children between them, have since moved to a new area of Horden, which they say is much quieter.
Mr Smith now goes to a wellbeing recovery centre in Durham City, where he is doing an art course and is planning an art exhibition, and is also looking for work.
The court had heard how Mr Smith was driven to despair after eggs had been hurled at his property and he promised to “burn” those who had “declared war” on his home, in chilling Facebook threats.
When officers arrived at his home on May 8 last year, after investigating the egg-throwing incidents, they found him mixing ingredients that could have a “fireball effect” if ignited.
When they asked him what he was doing he told them “what does it look like. Go and check the computer upstairs. I’m making a bomb”.
Mr Smith, who had not been in trouble before, was given a six-month prison suspended for 18 months and probation.
Judge Tony Briggs said his actions could have had tragic consequences, but took into account his tragic background and problems with people who behaved towards him in a “wholly unacceptable way”.