Falkirk man jailed for threats with nail bomb

Cowan was sentenced at the High Court in Livingston
Cowan was sentenced at the High Court in Livingston

A man who threatened to blow up some of his family and social workers with a nail bomb was jailed for two years and three months today.

Mark Crockett (53), of Marshall Drive, California, made a ‘bomb’ of sugar, screws and fireworks fuses packed into an aftershave can, which was described as “amateurish and inept” by sentencing judge Lord Armstrong at the High Court in Livingston.

He said experts had concluded that the explosive device was poorly mixed and unlikely to function fully.

However, it had sparked a huge public safety alert with police, fire, ambulance, special operations and bomb disposal officers called in to evacuate Logierait Pine Lodges near Pitlochry where Crockett was found under the influence of drugs.

Defence counsel Ronnie Renucci QC said the first offender – who was a hospitality manager for the Royal Bank of Scotland at their Edinburgh headquarters and once ran a pub – had “just cracked” as a result of stress and family pressures.

He added: “This could accurately be described as a breakdown.”

Lord Armstrong said he was concerned about the terrorism element in the charge given the global political circumstances.

Passing sentence, he told Crockett: “Although the device manufactured by you might be described as amateur or inept it was nevertheless an explosive device intended to take life or render serious injury and may have been viable for innocent members of the public.

“It’s plain that at the relevant time you were in emotional turmoil and since you’ve been assessed it’s clear you may have been suffering from some mental incapacity.

“Having regard to the gravity of the matter I’m satisfied, notwithstanding the persuasive submissions made by Mr Renucci on your behalf, that in the whole circumstances of the case there is no appropriate alternative to a custodial sentence.”

Crockett had earlier admitted making the explosive device “with intent by means thereof to endanger life or cause serious injury to property or enable any other person to do so” on February 4 last year.

He also admitted drugs offences after more than 400 morphine tablets were recovered during searches of the lodge and his Falkirk home, along with cannabis and Tramadol.

Some of the drugs had been prescribed to his late mother before she died in 2011.

Concerned staff at the holiday park, where Crockett had gone for a two-day respite break from looking after three youngsters in his care, called out paramedics after he failed to check out of his chalet.

Managers found him with a head injury and under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

A pinned-up letter on the door read: “I am dead, please do not enter. There is a nail bomb in the light blue bag.

“This was intended for London Borough Barnet Social Services, you are blessed. Change your ways. Repeat.”

Army bomb disposal experts later made the device safe.

Police later found letters in Crockett’s Falkirk home filled with threats towards family members and social workers.

The 53-year-old later told officers: “It’s a shame I did not get those b******s. It ain’t over yet.”