Bomb-maker is freed by judge

Digital StillCamera
Digital StillCamera

A GRANDDAD who tried to make napalm to firebomb his anti-social neighbours enjoyed an emotional reunion with his family after he walked free from court.

Nicholas Smith, 53, was interrupted by police trying to make the explosive substance in his kitchen after eggs had been thrown at his house again.

He was found guilty of making an explosive substance with intent to endanger life after a trial in September.

But Smith was “ecstatic” yesterday after he was released from custody when he was given a suspended prison sentence.

He said he had been through “hell” and the last six months in prison on remand had been a “nightmare”.

He revealed: “I’m absolutely ecstatic. It’s been a nightmare.

“I prepared myself for the worst. In prison people were taking bets on how long I was going to get.

“I’m just looking forward to getting on with my life and getting back with my family.”

Smith said he planned to renew his wedding vows with his wife Dorothy, do charity work and hopes to start his own business.

But he also hit out at a lack of help from the authorities and vowed to get answers.

He added: “It was a living hell. I don’t understand why the police couldn’t do more for us, the victims.

“We were treated worse than criminals.”

Mrs Smith added: “I was so scared to come today because I thought he might get time. It has been terrible. We just plan to get on with life.”

A trial at Teesside Crown Court heard how the former school caretaker and his wife Dorothy, 64, felt terrorised by anti-social behaviour.

Incidents started shortly after they moved to Horden from Worksop, Nottinghamshire, last year to be near their daughter, Amanda, 20.

He snapped while heavily drunk on May 8 after eggs had been thrown at their house in Twelfth Street.

Police found him in an agitated state when they went round to investigate.

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”.

They discovered Smith had used the internet to find instructions on how to make napalm.

The dad of three and granddad-of-nine described it as “a cry for help”.

Ashraf Khan, mitigating, said Smith was depressed after the death of his daughter 24 years ago which led to him drinking too much.

He said: “In reality, that has been the answer to all his problems unfortunately.

“It was a very unsophisticated attempt to construct an explosive device.”

Mr Khan added Smith had started to get professional help.

Smith was given a six-months prison suspended for 18 months and probation.

Judge Tony Briggs said his actions could have had tragic consequences and warned anyone who tried to make explosives could expect to be jailed.

But he added: “I accept you have a tragic family background and it’s likely to have been an important factor in the development of your condition.

“It’s perfectly plain you had problems with some of your neighbours who behaved towards you and your family in a wholly unacceptable way.”