Man who made explosive device from fireworks spared prison sentence

Bristol Crown Court.

Bristol Crown Court. - Credit: Archant

A Portishead man who made an explosive device has been spared jail.

Adam Gover-Clark, of Forth Avenue, made an improvised explosive device containing two commercial fireworks in a plastic container filled with screws.

Gover-Clark, aged 21, found the fireworks and adapted them to include screws.

The items were detonated in the Appletree Court area of Worle at around 4.15am on May 14 which left a 'fireball the size of a dinner plate'.

The items were recovered later in the morning by the Army's Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit in a lane and made safe.

Defending, Fiona Elder, said: "This is a young man who suffers significantly with Asperger's syndrome and persons who have Asperger's can become extremely fixated on certain topics.

"His thinking is rigid and he had no foresight of the consequences of his actions. "He said the inclusion of screws in the device was to weigh it down.

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"Gover-Clark is extremely intelligent but his brain just works in different ways, he has many advantages others do not. Nothing within his background indicates he has a worrying thought of harming others."

At Bristol Crown Court on Friday, Gover-Clark received a two-year community order and a concurrent community order for having a knuckle duster in a public place.

He must also undertake 140 hours of unpaid work, 25 days of rehabilitation and must pay a surcharge of £85.

Judge Timothy Rose said: "What you did was not something at the time you thought was against the law, this was so serious that the maximum sentence this offence carries is life imprisonment.

"You are a young man with a number of difficulties and somebody who would be in a vulnerable position in prison, this could be a damaging outcome for you.

"You have an unhealthy fascination with weapons which is something you should reconsider and find another way to express yourself.

"The items were made to get rid of a couple of old fireworks and you did not expect for them to be potentially dangerous by weighing it down to make sure it did not take off.

"This was a close call and this has to be the first and last time you appear before the courts because if it is not, a custodial sentence will be applied."