Stoke & Staffordshire

Staffordshire nail bombs trial defendant Edvinas Sermuksinis dies

One of the six men on trial for causing nail bomb explosions at three houses in Staffordshire has died.

Edvinas Sermuksinis from Belfast, Northern Ireland, was charged with conspiracy to cause explosions and to make threats to kill.

Police said they were not treating his death as suspicious.

Judge Mark Eades told the jury they were "discharged from finding a verdict on the charges he faced" and they should not speculate about his death.

Mr Eades told Stafford Crown Court that the coroner had been informed and would be holding an inquest.

Wyn Jones, Serco's director of custodial services, said: "The death of Mr Sermuksinis is a tragedy and our condolences go out to his family.

"As in any such death, there will be an independent investigation which we will fully support."

Money dispute

Three bombs exploded at homes in Cheadle, Blythe Bridge and Weston Coyney on 3 August 2012, causing minimal damage.

The prosecution allege the group of men targeted workers and property linked to Staffordshire businessman, Jason Sherratt, because of a dispute over money.

Jason Taft, 41, of Greenfields Farm, Stoke-on-Trent; Thomas Lesley, 34, from Belfast; Andrew Boal, 32, from Ballygowan, Newtonards, County Down; 43-year-old Kevin Proctor from Stoke-on-Trent and Martin Drewery, 42, from the Staffordshire Moorlands, are all charged with conspiracy to make threats to kill and conspiracy to cause explosions.

The jury heard Mr Lesley's father Thomas Richard Lesley, 55, also from Belfast, was unfit to stand trial due to ill health.

The men all deny the charges.

Three other men have pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.

The trial continues.

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