Youth jailed over plan to blow up paedophile father

Steven Dick has been jailed for 10 years. Picture: TSPL
Steven Dick has been jailed for 10 years. Picture: TSPL
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A YOUTH who caused a major bomb alert with a plan to blow up his paedophile father has been sentenced to three years’ detention.

• ‘Voices in his head’ told Connor Ward to construct a nail bomb to kill himself and his father

• Alexander Ward had been jailed in 2007 for sexual offences involving children

• Despite long-standing mental health problems, custodial sentence deemed appropriate for Connor Ward due to gravity of offence

A judge said Connor Ward, 20, had long-standing mental health problems, but he could not be spared custody because of the gravity of the offence and the risk he had posed to public safety.

Ward had “key ingredients” for a home-made bomb in his flat in Banff, Aberdeenshire, and police had to set up a 100-metre exclusion zone while bomb disposal experts carried out a search.

His father was a registered sex offender, and had a child by a young woman who previously had been Ward’s girlfriend. Ward told police he intended to kill his father and himself with the bomb.

“It is clear that you harbour a deep hatred for your father,” Lord Uist told Ward at the High Court in Edinburgh.

The judge ordered that Ward be kept under supervision for a year after his sentence, and made it a condition that Ward did not approach or contact, or attempt to contact, his father.

Ward admitted causing fear and alarm by repeatedly stating to witnesses that he had made a bomb, and possessing various chemicals and items in breach of the Explosive Substances Act .

The advocate-depute, Tim Niven-Smith, said Ward was a voluntary in-patient at Aberdeen’s Royal Cornhill Hospital in May, and was visited by his mother, Joyce Farron. He told her he had made a bomb and that he hated his father.

Mr Niven-Smith said Alexander Ward had been jailed for two years in 2007 for sexual offences involving children. Currently, he was in a relationship with a woman and they had a child. The woman had gone out with Ward when he was about 15.

Ward’s mother went to his flat in Water Lane, Banff, and found a do-it-yourself gunpowder book, and a number of plastic bottles which had chemical names typed on the labels. She went to the police.

“A large-scale investigation was commenced with a view to ensuring public safety. This involved in excess of 70 officers...the creation of a 100-metre exclusion zone had a significant impact, with occupants being evacuated from their homes for a long period of time,” said Mr Niven-Smith.

A bomb disposal team attended and the chemicals were confirmed to be “key ingredients” for a home-made bomb.

Mr Niven-Smith continued: “The accused admitted he had investigated how to manufacture various types of explosive devices. He said it was his intention to manufacture a nail bomb and kill himself and his father. He indicated that ‘voices in his head’ were telling him to kill his father.”

The defence counsel, Drew McKenzie, urged the judge to impose a community payback order. He said Ward had already served the equivalent of a 15-month sentence on remand.

Lord Uist said Ward had no previous convictions and suffered from personality disorders which had required treatment on several occasions. However, he had been assessed as sane at the time of the offence, and fit to appear in court.

“I have considered all the information provided to me, and I have concluded that a custodial sentence is required because of the gravity of the explosive substance charge and the potential effect on the safety of the public. It is only because of your youth and absence of criminal history that the sentence is not longer,” said Lord Uist.