Sacriston man made explosive device intending to harm himself, court told

The Northern Echo: Bomb disposal experts joined police in search at defendant's house, in Sacriston Bomb disposal experts joined police in search at defendant's house, in Sacriston

A MAN has admitted making an explosive device, but on the basis it was to threaten to take his own life.

Brian Anton Riley was arrested by police summoned to his home in Sacriston, County Durham, for what was initially thought to be a firearms incident, on Sunday, November 3.

Armed response officers were joined by Army bomb disposal experts in searching the premises, in Fulforth Way, recovering the suspect item.

Durham Crown Court heard that it emerged it was a home-made device created from several ingredients.

Riley, 27, was to stand trial accused of making an explosive substance with intent to endanger life or cause serious injury, but at the scheduled start of the case today (Wednesday March 12) he changed his plea to ‘guilty’ on a basis that it was his own life which would have been put in danger.

He also today admitted putting a person in fear of violence through harassment, via text messages and emails to his former girlfriend.

Riley pleaded ‘guilty’ to a charge of possessing a class B drug at a previous hearing.

Following the change of plea, Michael Graham, prosecuting, told today’s hearing: “It seems he’s accepting the full prosecution facts, including the threats through use of that device, but I understand it was on the basis that the intention was to ultimately kill himself.”

Tony Davis, for Riley, said the threats were made during a period of, “emotional melt-down”.

“He clearly created this device, although the ballistics expert said there was simply no way of knowing what size explosion it would cause.

“But, there wasn’t the amount of material to cause a massive explosion.

“He said he intended to go into a field and effectively cradle it. It’s unlikely in the final analysis that there would have been a major incident.”

Mr Davis added that psychiatric reports suggest Riley was suffering a form of personality disorder which may prove untreatable.

Judge Robert Adams adjourned the hearing for preparation of a background report on Riley by the Probation Service prior to sentence.

But he told him: “In ordering a pre-sentence report there are absolutely no promises as to the outcome.”

He added that he would “take some persuading” to pass a non-custodial sentence.

Riley was remanded in custody pending sentence in the week beginning April 22, when Judge Adams will be sitting at Newcastle Crown Court.

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