Wrong-house pipe bombers jailed

A man whose family was left traumatised after a misdirected bomb attack on their home said that he was satisfied with the jail terms handed down.

A man whose family was left traumatised after a misdirected bomb attack on their home said tonight that he was satisfied with the jail terms handed down.

Glen Hockings, 33, of Beach Road, Kessingland, and John Wilson, 26, formerly of Coopers Beach Caravan Park in East Mersea, received 7 ½ year and three year sentences for a pipe bomb attack on a detached house in a quiet residential street in Kessingland, near Lowestoft.

But they had mistaken the address of the people they believed had vandalised Hockings' car and inside were the innocent Still family, who were awoken by an explosion at 1.40am. The casement windows of their lounge shattered and filled the room with glass, while their car parked outside was damaged by a second pipe bomb.

Peter Still, 58, said he was satisfied with the sentences. “They are a pair of idiots and I hope they will learn a lesson while they are in there.”

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He said the family was still recovering from the attack in February 2006. “We are still trying to get over it. Once you have been that close to a bomb you tend to look at people suspiciously when you get on a plane or even an underground train.”

Ipswich Crown Court heard yesterday that Mrs Still had been deeply affected by the trauma. Judge John Holt said: “She now regularly seals her letter box at night with parcel tape for fear of another attack. She doesn't like going out in the garden. She won't go outside in the dark.”

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Both men will serve half their sentences, though Wilson, who has already served 285 days on remand, will be released in less than a year. His sentence was shorter because he pleaded guilty at an earlier stage, had no criminal record and went on to give evidence against Hockings - an act which his lawyer said led to him being beaten up in prison.

Matthew Pardoe, for Wilson, said he was from a very respectable family and was of previous good character. He said everyone who knew him was shocked to hear of his involvement in the pipe bombing.

Wilson, who previously lived in Kessingland, has worked as a photographer at Hopton Holiday Village and more recently as a caravan salesman, including at Kessingland Beach Holiday Park, where the pair carried out the attack.

Miles Bennett, for Hockings, said he had children and was devoted to his family. He said: “There was considerable remorse and empathy for those who were his victims.”

Hockings has previous convictions for theft, benefit fraud and drink driving, but no convictions for violence. He did not plead guilty until three days into his trial earlier this year, during which he attempted to rely on a false alibi. Mr Bennett said this was his “second bad decision” but that he did it because “he was terrified, having put himself into a position that he had a successful career, getting on well with his children, that he was going to lose everything”.

The judge said it was only by “extraordinary good fortune” that Mr Still was not in the lounge when the bomb went off. “Had he been sitting where he was normally sitting on a Tuesday evening, he would have been seriously injured, at the very least.”

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