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Cambridgeshire letter bomber found guilty

Bedroom bomb factory in mother's house

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A former Cambridgeshire school caretaker, accused of carrying out a nationwide letter-bombing campaign, was today found guilty as charged at Oxford Crown Court.

Miles Cooper, 27, of Cherry Hinton near Cambridge, had denied eight counts of causing bodily injury by means of an explosive substance and two counts of using an explosive substance with intent to disable. Cooper was also charged with making explosives, with an alternative charge of possessing an explosive substance. The jury convicted him unanimously on all counts including making explosives.

During the trial, Cooper did not deny that he had made letter bombs and sent them to various addresses around the country. However he denied any intention to cause injury or harm, saying that his actions were a protest against excessive governmental surveillance and control in Britain.

According to reports, the 27-year-old was particularly aggrieved at the fact that his father Clive Cooper's DNA signature had been retained on the national police database despite his acquittal following a 2003 assault charge.

Miles Cooper's devices reportedly employed small low-explosive charges triggered by pull initiators from party poppers. The first one which functioned was designed to shoot a nail at its victim, and following packages used glass fragmentation. It was accepted by the prosecution that none of the devices were powerful enough to kill. Victims said they had suffered hearing damage and glass embedded in hands and stomachs.

DVLA worker Karen Andrews, who opened the final device, told the court she was expected to suffer tinnitus for life.

Police described Cooper's bedroom in the house he shared with his mother as "basically a bomb making factory." Fireworks, matches, party poppers, and three improvised devices containing "potassium, chlorate, perchlorate, magnesium, silicon, iron, phosphate and sulphur" were found. The three devices were described by their maker as "incendiaries" and by prosecutors as "explosives."

He will be sentenced tomorrow morning.®

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