Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are a relatively common sight on the streets of Baghdad or Fallujah, but are thankfully quite rare in the UK – or at least they used to be. Residents of the North Welsh town of Denbigh got a shock recently when an IED was found to have been detonated by the town’s own former mayor.
46-year-old John Larsen, a (now ex-) Liberal Democrat councillor, used the home-made bomb to blow up a Land Rover Discovery, Caernafon Crown Court heard. He was responsible for a series of explosions that are said to have destroyed the 4X4 as well as another vehicle, and sent ball-bearings and other shrapnel flying into nearby houses.
prosecuting barrister Wyn Lloyd Jones said: “Windows were smashed. These events brought fear to the local community.
“He was living right in the middle of it, a matter of a few feet from where that improvised explosive device had exploded.
“At the time he was a local councillor. He was well known within the local community. In 1999 he had been mayor of Denbigh. He was a member of the local neighbourhood watch.
“Not surprisingly there was media interest in what was going on and the defendant voiced his opinions.”
Police were led to Larsen after a neighbour secretly kept watch to find out who was responsible for the explosions. The explosions ceased after Larsen was arrested on April 19.
“There is a strong and compelling case against the defendant proving he was responsible,” Lloyd Jones continued.
“The prosecution don’t have to prove a motive but it is highly likely the defendant was getting a thrill from what he was doing and the attention these events were generating.”