Magistrate in court on bomb charges

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The Independent Online

A magistrate has appeared in court charged with possessing nine bombs with intent to endanger life. They contained metal nuts and explosives, and were packed into two-litre water bottles.

Jonathan Wilkes, aged 40, who serves as a justice of the peace in Oxfordshire, was remanded in custody at Milton Keynes magistrates' court after being charged under the Explosive Substances Act of 1883.

A cache of devices was found in woodland at Freeland in Oxfordshire, and another in Syreford, Gloucestershire, in August last year.

Wilkes spoke only to confirm his address in St Palais-sur-Mer inwestern France. The cropped-haired, greying defendant wore a brown patterned shirt over a white T–shirt, and beige trousers.

The charge was that Wilkes: "On or between Saturday 19 August and Friday 25 August 2000, at Freeland in Oxfordshire and Syreford in Gloucestershire, unlawfully and maliciously had in your possession or under your control an explosive substance, namely nine improvised explosive devices, with intent to endanger life or cause serious injury to property or to enable another to so do."

The court heard that Wilkes, a self-employed computer software engineer and IT consultant, had recently moved from Freeland to live with his French partner and five-year-old son.

He was remanded in custody to appear at Oxford Crown Court on 20 July.

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