A former postman who planted a bomb as part of a hate campaign against a colleague, has been jailed for seven years.
Stephen Kay, 37, of Mardale Avenue, Morecambe, launched the chilling vendetta of revenge after his complaints of alleged bullying by the colleague, Alexander Winter, were rejected by bosses.
“You began to harbour a grudge against him and decided to take the law into your own hands by inflicting your own punishment on Mr Winter,” said Judge Clement Goldstone, QC, the Recorder of Liverpool.
Kay had a passion since childhood for explosives and at the time of the campaign in the late 1990’s he was suffering from a persecution complex.
Although he is now mentally well the court heard that he has trouble controlling his temper and in 2009 he was convicted of throwing a rock through a coffee shop window because of a grievance and the next year he head butted a 75-year-old man in a row over a parking space.
He had also sat in his car with a crossbow because of a grudge against another former colleague and has “a history of trying to spray wrong doers with ultra violet powder”.
Sentencing Kay on Friday for placing the explosive device with intent to cause injury, Judge Goldstone said, “It seems to me as long as you are unable or unwilling to accept responsibility for what you did then anyone who crosses you and you perceive to have crossed you is at risk of serious reprisals.”
He went on, “You used your skill and passion to create an improvised explosive device, IED, which you attached by means of a clothes line to Mr Winters back door with the intention it would explode and cause at least serious injury to anyone who opened the back door.”
The device consisted of a five litre oil can half filled with petrol and a tube containing an explosive cocktail of black powder, lead shot and ball bearings.
Detonation would have been caused by making an electrical circuit involving heating a bulb filament.
Mr Winter’s wife opened the door of their Heysham home but miraculously the IED did not ignite but the judge said the jury had been satisfied that Kay had intended that it should.
The day after a letter from Kay to Mr Winter was intercepted threatening to kill him.
Nine months earlier Kay had sent a package through the post to his victim containing two mouse traps adapted to fire two blank .22 cartridges with a note threatening to burn the house down and kill his wife.
The device activated but the cartridges did not operate and Mr Winter did not report the matter.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that the incidents happened in 1998 and 1999 and during police investigations Mr Winter also told how he had found a device under his car outside his home in November 1997 which had left a burn mark.
Kay resigned from the Post Office after a disciplinary hearing about the redirection of mail in September 1997 by which time he was seeing a psychiatrist for a paranoia involving thoughts about killing colleagues.
The incidents were highlighted in a BBC Crime Watch programme in May 1999 but nothing else occurred until 2005 when a man made drunken messages to the police saying he had helped Kay make a mousetrap device.
However, it was four years later before police re-opened their investigations after Kay had become “careless” and told people what he had done and even sent a Facebook message highlighting it was the 10th anniversary of the IED incident.
“Not that you admitted sending the devices in as many words but you, who had enjoyed being the centre of attention and was sorry that it had ceased to be front page news wanted ‘full and accurate reporting’ to mark the 10th anniversary of the event,” said Judge Goldstone.
He added that although Kay’s “pride was badly hurt by the failure of the mousetraps as well as the IED” he left it at that.
Although he had been suffering from paranoia at the time of the offence he had still been “mentally responsible and culpable for your actions as evidenced by the meticulous plan you put in place.”
When he was arrested in September 2010 police found an air rifle and two CS gas canisters along with military memorabilia and replica weapons.
His car containing a device which would have covered intruders with ultra-violet powder.
Kay denied placing an explosive device with intent when he was 22-years-old but was convicted after a trial and he admitted possessing the air rifle without a certificate and illegally possessing the CS gas canisters.
A charge involving the mousetraps had been thrown out by a judge because it could not be proved he had intended to cause harm.
Paul Humphries, defending, said that he had bought the CS gas canisters thinking they contained ultra violet spray and did not know it was CS gas and he had not known that the power of the air rifle put it over the legal limit.
The offence involving the IED occurred because he had reacted inappropriately to “bullying or perceived bullying,” he added.