Last night, other senior executives of Britain's privatised utilities were warned by police to be on their guard. Detectives said the timing of the phone call, to the Manchester Evening News, made it clear that it was not intended as a warning to save life or injury.
Sir Desmond, 64, whose company was formed by a merger of North-West Water and the electricity company Norweb, and who has recently said he will challenge the Government's plan for a windfall tax on the privatised utilities in the courts, was at the centre of a public row over incentive payments last year.
Sir Desmond and his wife were not at home when a device was thrown into a ground-floor kitchen of Onston Hall, near Northwich.
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