STAFFORDSHIRE Moorlands man has been jailed alongside five others for his part in a targeted campaign of threats and intimidation.
Five men were convicted by a jury at Stafford Crown Court on Tuesday, July 30, for a total of 53 years for their part in the campaign against Cheadle businessman Jason Sherratt.
This included sending pipe bombs filled with nails to three properties in Blythe Bridge, Cheadle and Weston Coyney in August last year.
They included Jason Taft, aged 42, of Thorney Edge, Bagnall, who was sentenced to 16 years for conspiring to cause explosions of a nature likely to endanger life or cause serious injury, and six years for conspiring to make threats to kill. The sentences will run concurrently.
Thomas Leslie, aged 35, of Crumlin Road, Belfast, County Antrim, was sentenced to 14 years for conspiring to cause explosions of a nature likely to endanger life or cause serious injury and five years for conspiring to make threats to kill. His sentences will also run concurrently.
Andrew Boal, aged 32, of The Brae, Ballygowan, Newtownards, County Down, was sentenced to five years after being found guilty of conspiring to make threats to kill. Kevin Proctor, aged 44, of Edge View Road, Stoke-on-Trent, and Martin Drewery, aged 43, of Sandy Lane, Brown Edge, were sentenced to nine years each after being found guilty of conspiring to cause explosions of a nature likely to endanger life or cause serious injury.
Jarrad Moore, whose home in Axon Crescent, Weston Coyney, was one of the three properties bombed, said: “I would have liked them to have got longer sentences and for them to serve the whole sentence, rather than it running concurrently, but the main ringleaders have been convicted so I’m happy about that.
“The sentences will always not be long enough for someone who threatens to hurt your children, but this is where we are and we’ve just got to get on with it.
“I feel a little safer and don't have to check my car as much; I was just really very angry and it's a totally wrong act against family dwellings.
"Apparently the bombs were only meant to scare; you don't put six inch nails into an explosives filled pipe, detonate it and knock on someone’s door for them to find it only to scare someone. It's an absolute miracle that no-one was killed or injured.”
During the 14-week trial, the prosecution said the case involved a campaign against three people, including Mr Moore, due to a row over money.
Mr Moore said of Taft: “He was well aware he wasn’t owed money; all this has been hidden behind different companies and things and the whole ‘row’ thing was just a sideshow and a red herring.
“He is a nasty man with some nasty friends.
“A lot of people would have caved in after the bombings, but it was that far removed from normality it’s had the opposite effect, and along with the threats has made us very angry.
“I suppose I feel very bullish about the whole thing as there's no point being hung up on it.
“Life does go on and there are people depending on all of us."
Detective Chief Inspector Darren Harding, who led the investigation, said: “Although the wider public's safety was not at risk, this was undoubtedly a very serious crime and the defendants must now face the consequences of their involvement.”