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Guard given electric shock by 'wired' car: Driver's anti-theft measure 'went too far'

AN ENGINEER went too far when he wired his high performance car with electrified cattle fencing to deter thieves, the Old Bailey was told yesterday.

A security guard at the Kensington Hilton in London received an 8,500-volt shock when he examined the white Ford Sierra Cosworth, suspecting it contained a bomb. Roderic Minshull, 48, was staying at the hotel but had not told staff the pounds 17,000 car was his.

He told police he had wired it up after three attempts had been made to steal it from his home in the Cambridgeshire village of Conington. The intention was that anyone who tried to steal the car and touched exposed metal parts of it would receive 'a little jump, and if they kept on touching the car it would cause considerable pain', Mr Minshull told police.

Nicholas Coleman, for the prosecution, told the jury that while he sympathised with Mr Minshull's plight, he went 'too far' in what he did.

Mr Minshull denies possessing a prohibited weapon, causing a noxious thing to be administered and common assault last October.

Mr Coleman said it was not necessary to wire up the car because it had an immobiliser and an anti-theft lock.

The security man, Guy Holloway, saw a wire attached to a steel plate and heard a ticking sound.

He touched the wire and a pain went through his hand and up his arm into his chest. Police were called and the car park sealed off. When Mr Minshull was traced as the owner, he told police that the electrification was designed 'not to harm but to sting'.

In interviews, Mr Minshull said he believed police 'couldn't care less' about attempts to steal the car.

Mr Minshull said he felt 'quite strongly' that he was justified. The wiring could be bought over the counter for pounds 200. He told police they were taking it too seriously and allegedly added: 'You will be laughed out of court.'

The trial continues.