Feeds

Manchester 'DIY devil bomber' kept explosive in family fridge

No evidence of intent to harm, says police source

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Microsoft exits climate denier lobby group
ALEC will have to do without Redmond, it seems
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.