Feeds

Manchester 'DIY devil bomber' kept explosive in family fridge

No evidence of intent to harm, says police source

Top three mobile application threats

A Manchester court case this week revealed chilling evidence of the devastation that can be caused by home-made bombs. Or, possibly, the case merely provided further evidence of the press' and security services' tenuous grasp of the science of bomb-making.

According to today's Times, a former student "kept a bottle of his explosive in the kitchen fridge at his family’s £450,000 home in Worsley, Greater Manchester." Police, the Times tells us, "said that the mix was so volatile that an accidental shove of the fridge could have caused an explosion that would have destroyed every home in the cul-de-sac." Which sounds like a very big fridge containing a very big bottle full of deeply scary stuff.

The Times reports that the student mixed ingredients "including potassium nitrate and magnesium." These are indeed substances which can be combined to produce a bang, but not ones which of their own volition form a readily-bottled liquid when combined. The Register has some passing familiarity with potassium nitrate (saltpetre), which is used in the production of salt beef, and which was winning us penetrating stares down at the chemist's well before the Global War on Terror. But yes, it's also a component of gunpowder, and can be used to make bombs; more commonly, however, terrorists use ammonium nitrate, which is used as a fertiliser and more readily available. But even assuming very large fridge and very large container of either, slamming the fridge door is unlikely to set it off unless the door's booby-trapped with a couple of flints, and we wouldn't expect it to go much beyond making a serious mess of the kitchen anyway.

The Manchester Evening News, however, has some more plausible detail. Police found potassium nitrate, magnesium "and a highly-explosive substance called triacteone triperoxide". This is TATP, produced with acetone and peroxide with the aid of a great deal of care and a certain amount of refrigeration, as we explained here and as comprehensively dismantled by Dick Destiny here and here. And yes, you could reasonably worry about what that stuff might do left lying around the fridge, but the bang is still not going to be neighbourhood-threatening.

The MEN analysis is more fevered, quoting a police source: "He kept a bottle of a completed mix in the family fridge. The entire house and the entire street could have been blown up. It is so volatile it did not need gunpowder to ignite it. Just a heavy shove of the fridge could have triggered an explosion."

Careful readers will note from our sources that although we do have explosives here, a garage door blown off, bangs in the wood and one unlucky sheep, this was not a terrorism trial. At a hearing in March, Edward Mattison admitted three charges of possessing an explosive substance and one of causing an explosion, and has now admitted downloading five sexually explicit images of "pre-teens". He has been granted conditional bail pending sentencing in October. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich
New 'Atlas of ICT Activity' finds innovation isn't happening at Silicon Roundabout
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.