Teenager 'blew up car in neighbour dispute'

A teenager used an improvised explosive device (IED) to blow up a car in a neighbour dispute over a fallen fence panel, a court heard today.

Robert White created the homemade bomb using a scaffold pipe welded shut with powder believed to be from fireworks inside.

The 19-year-old placed the device, compared to explosives used in Afghanistan and Iraq, next to a car owned by neighbours of his aunt and uncle near Southampton.

The explosion in the early hours of April 10 blasted shrapnel more than 30 metres and caused substantial damage to the Vauxhall Vectra.

Stephen Parish, prosecuting, told Southampton Crown Court that White, of Truro Rise, Bishopstoke, told friends that he planted the bomb because the neighbour had been "harassing" his uncle.

Mr Parish explained that a neighbour dispute between the neighbours in Chadwick Road had escalated after a fence panel had blown over.

The argument was between White's aunt and uncle, John and Jacqueline Hallett, and their neighbours Yvonne West and Sean Konczak, although White's relatives had nothing to do with the bomb, the court heard.

He said: "It all started with a fence panel being blown over, it finished with a car being blown up."

He explained: "It started with something as trivial as a fence being blown over by high winds, there was a loss of privacy, there were arguments and complaints to the council and so on and so forth."

Mr Parish said that White placed the bomb next to Mr Konczak's car at about 2.30am and neighbours described it as an "almighty bang".

He said debris was found up to 34 metres away.

He added: "It gives you some indication of the force of the explosion that debris was actually thrown in excess of 30 metres."

Mr Parish told the jury about the device: "Kevin Amaira, a Royal Navy bomb disposal officer, concluded this was an IED - you probably have heard about these talked about in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"It consisted of a metal scaffold pipe, crudely welded at the ends, with explosives put inside and left open at one end so there was some way to trigger it and explode, causing a considerable amount of damage with the shrapnel."

Mr Parish said Mr and Mrs Hallett were arrested but later released without charge.

After White handed himself into police, a search of his house found fireworks, including a Proton Bomb, a disc saw, pipes and a metal press found to have been used on the actual bomb.

White was also a registered shotgun keeper, the court heard.

He is alleged to have been seen carrying out explosions of similar bomb devices in the days before the incident.

He is also alleged to have told a friend he had "gone too far this time", putting a bomb under a car next to his aunt and uncle's.

White denies a charge of causing an explosion likely to endanger life.

The case was adjourned until tomorrow.

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