Kent

Ex-soldier guilty of trying to kill wife in Kent car blast

Car after explosion in Vigo, Kent
Image caption Mrs Fabian suffered severe burns to her legs in the explosion

A former soldier has been found guilty of trying to murder his pregnant wife by blowing up her car.

Victoria Fabian, 33, suffered severe leg injuries in the explosion in Vigo, Kent, in March 2010, Maidstone Crown Court heard.

Her eight-year-old son, also in the car, and her unborn child were unhurt.

Nicholas Fabian, 33, was also found guilty of causing an explosion likely to endanger life, after less than an hour of deliberation by the jury.

A charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent was discharged.

Fabian is due to be sentenced on Friday.

Jurors were told Fabian planted the stolen device after his wife, a nurse at Tonbridge Cottage Hospital, confronted him about an affair with a colleague and a credit card bill.

The explosion happened the next morning, as Mrs Fabian started to drive away from their family home in Highview in a borrowed Mazda.

Giving evidence, Mrs Fabian told the court: "The windscreen shattered and there was a loud bang."

She said she thought a tree had fallen on the car, and she heard her son asking what had happened, but she could not feel anything from her waist down, and she told him to get out of the vehicle.

She told jurors the next thing she remembered was her husband running towards her, crying.

"He was trying to get me out of the car," she said.

Mrs Fabian remained in hospital for two months after the explosion and gave birth to a baby boy a month after leaving.

Stolen grenade

The court heard Fabian had stolen a hand grenade from a firing range during weapons training in north Yorkshire.

Examination of the scene suggested the grenade was strapped inside a wheel arch.

A nylon line was attached to the grenade pin at one end and a fishing hook at the other, and set so the safety pin would be pulled out as the wheel moved.

Fabian insisted he had not planted the grenade but he admitted he lied to police about the affair, and about his Army training in hand grenades, claiming he had never been in contact with them.

The court heard Fabian was a reservist after serving in the Army between 1994 and 2004, and had been called up to complete a tour of Afghanistan in January 2010.

He stole the hand grenade during a training exercise ahead of the deployment.

Image caption Nicholas Fabian was a reservist and had been called up to go to Afghanistan

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said he was in the Territorial Army as a reservist, and was no longer a regular, full-time soldier.

A statement issued by the MoD about the stolen grenade said: "We take our duty to safeguard ammunition and weapons extremely seriously and a vigorous control regime is in place.

"We cannot discuss security controls in detail, but all facilities are inspected to ensure they are suitable and secure and we conduct thorough investigations to learn lessons from any incident.

"Action will be taken if evidence shows potential improvements to security."

Outside court Det Insp Lee Whitehead, of Kent Police, said the speed of the jury's decision showed how much evidence police had against Fabian.

He said he was glad Mrs Fabian could "move on with her life having had such a physical and emotional trauma".

"It's difficult to understand how anyone could attempt to kill her while she was pregnant in such a callous manner," he said.

"I would say he is a very dangerous and selfish man and all he wanted to do was clear the decks and move on with his girlfriend."

Alistair Dickson, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said Fabian was a "fantasist" and "an attention-seeker".

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