Family's relief as bomber owns up

A man whose family home was targeted in a pipe bomb attack said justice had been done after a defendant confessed to the crime halfway through his crown court trial.

A man whose family home was targeted in a pipe bomb attack said justice had been done after a defendant confessed to the crime halfway through his crown court trial.

Peter Still last night told how the realisation that he, his wife and children could have been killed by the explosion continued to have a major impact on their lives, 18 months after the attack in Kessingland, near Lowestoft.

A judge at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday told Glen Hockings, 33, to expect a lengthy jail term when he is sentenced next month.

His accomplice, John Wilson, 28, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.

Hockings, of Beach Road, Kessingland, brought the trial to an abrupt end when he changed his plea and admitted his part in the attack in which two pipe bombs were planted outside the Still family home in Catchpole Close.

The court heard how the defendants made the bombs from copper piping filled with gunpowder from birdscarers after becoming convinced that someone living at the house had been responsible for damaging their cars.

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One of the bombs blasted through a lounge window during the early hours of February 15 last year and another exploded on the wind-screen of a car parked outside.

Self-employed Mr Still, 58, said: "They didn't make the bomb as well as they could have done. It could have taken half of the house out.

"It happened 18 months ago, but it's had a significant effect on the family and we now react even when there is a slight noise outside. It has made everybody nervous.

"It was quite terrifying when it happened and it could have been a lot worse. My emotion now is that they are in the right place and that justice has been done."

Mr Still believes he was saved because a scheduled practice session with his band, which meant he would have been up late, was cancelled.

"I would have been sitting just two feet away from the lounge window when it blew in and I would have been seriously injured or killed," he added.

Mr Still's wife Heather, 57, sons Charles, 23, and Edward, 26, and Edward's girlfriend were in the house at the time and all escaped uninjured.

Mr Still, who has another son, James, 26, added: "My wife has had a tough time of it and has suffered with her nerves. Obviously we can now begin to draw a line under it because it has been a traumatic time."

The court heard that Hockings, who was remanded in custody until sentencing, and Wilson, of Coopers Beach Caravan Park, in East Mersea, near Colchester, had both been living and working at the Kessingland Beach Holiday Park at the time of the attack.

They believed the person responsible for vandalising their cars drove a white Vauxhall Nova and reacted after seeing a similar car parked outside Mr Still's house.

However, Mr Still said the Nova at his home had not been driven for two years and added: "They put two and two together and made 30."

Both defendants were convicted of causing an explosion likely to endanger life or cause serious damage to property and a lesser charge of causing an explosion likely to cause serious damage to property.

Wilson had agreed to give evidence for the prosecution following his earlier guilty plea.

Judge John Holt said: "These are serious and violent offences and a lengthy custodial sentence is inevitable."

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