Kent

Nicholas Fabian's 'callous' attempt to kill wife

Victoria Fabian outside court (Pic: Philip Toscano)
Image caption Victoria Fabian suffered leg injuries in the blast

Victoria Fabian was 24 weeks pregnant when an explosion ripped through her car, causing her to lose part of her leg.

Her eight-year-old son, from a previous relationship, suffered minor injuries as she pushed him from the vehicle.

Her husband Nicholas Fabian, 33, was found guilty of attempted murder and causing an explosion likely to endanger life at Maidstone Crown Court on Thursday.

Police said the explosion was caused by a grenade placed under the right wheel-arch of Mrs Fabian's Mazda, which had been parked in a small car park outside the family home in Vigo, near Meopham, in Kent.

A nylon fishing wire attached to the grenade pin appeared to have been the detonator.

After the blast, Mr Fabian rushed to his wife's aid along with neighbours. Her clothes were on fire and she had lost part of her left leg.

Her unborn baby boy was not hurt and was delivered safely in hospital three months later.

'Affair'

Mrs Fabian, a nurse, spent eight weeks in hospital for treatment for her injuries and still needs crutches to walk.

As police began to piece together the circumstances leading to the blast, they discovered evidence of marital problems between Mrs Fabian and her husband, a reservist soldier.

The two-week trial at Maidstone Crown Court heard that Mrs Fabian, now 33, wrote her husband a letter confronting him about his affair and a credit card debt of £1,400 she had discovered.

She left the letter out while she went to work a late shift at Tonbridge Cottage Hospital on 4 March 2010, the night before the blast.

Image caption Nicholas Fabian had been a reservist in the Army

He initially told police his affair, with a woman he met while working at the Brands Hatch branch of Battersea Dogs' and Cats' Home, was over.

But his lover, Jackie Phillips, told the court that Fabian had promised to leave his wife for her.

Police believe Fabian stole the grenade that maimed his wife during a training exercise at a firing range in North Yorkshire.

Fabian, who served in the Army for 10 years and had been called up for a tour of duty in Afghanistan after becoming a reservist, admitted possessing ammunition without a firearm licence but strenuously denied planting the grenade or even stealing it.

'Beggared belief'

He claimed there had been no opportunity to take the device as he was never alone, and he was checked at the end of the exercise.

During a search of his home police found 95 rounds of ammunition, nylon fishing wire and what they believe were elements for a pipe bomb in his shed.

Fabian said he tended his suffering wife, whom he had known since childhood, at the scene of the explosion, tying a tourniquet on her leg to stem the blood and smothering her blazing clothes with his bare hands.

He told the court: "I was trying to save her life... In my head I was thinking I was going to lose her and lose the baby as well."

The Crown Prosecution Service said he showed a callous disregard for life.

Senior Crown Prosecutor Alistair Dickson said he knew what kind of injury that type of grenade would cause, and using the weapon to attempt to kill his wife and unborn child "beggared belief".

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