North East Wales

Denbigh ex-mayor John Larsen loses bomb sentence appeal

John Larsen
Image caption John Larsen said he played no part in the explosions

A former mayor who subjected Denbigh residents to a campaign of "terrifying" explosions has lost an appeal against his 18-year prison sentence.

John Larsen, 47, set off three firework bombs, one of which sent shrapnel in to buildings in the Lenten Pool area.

He was convicted of arson, causing an explosion likely to endanger life and possessing explosives with intent last year.

His defence counsel had argued his sentence was "manifestly excessive".

The court heard Larsen waged a campaign of terror in the area where he lived, motivated by an "inflated sense of his self-importance".

An explosion on 15 March last year damaged a car, and another the following day set two more alight.

The most serious incident was on 24 March when an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded on a parked Land Rover in the early hours of the morning.

'Campaign of terror"

The device sent 13 metal ball bearings flying through the windows of a mental health unit and a house, where it was found embedded in the headboard of a bed.

Larsen gave interviews to local media as police hunted for the culprit.

He was eventually arrested a month later and was jailed in October.

But on Tuesday his defence barrister Gordon Hennell argued the sentence was too long.

"These were not offences of terrorism and so, although the starting point should be a high one, it is not appropriate to apply the terrorism sentencing guidelines," he said.

He said Larsen had taken positive steps in prison by enlisting as a mentor in the education unit.

But three high court judges rejected the arguments.

Mr Justice Lewis, who dismissed the appeal with Lord Justice Treacy and Judge Melbourne Inman QC, said: "Given the nature of the device, the explosion carried the real risk of endangering the life of a person or causing serious injury to a person.

He said: "The offences were part of a sustained campaign of deliberate terror. The campaign caused real fear on the part of the residents of Denbigh."

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