Dentist bomb trial ends in no verdict

The trial of a former dentist who was accused of plotting to make bombs intended to endanger life has ended after the jury failed to return a verdict.

Dentist David Jackson, 62, along with ex-BNP local election candidate Robert Cottage, 49, denied conspiring to set off explosions with chemicals they bought on the internet.

The jury of seven men and four women at Manchester Crown Court informed Mrs Justice Swift they were unable to reach a verdict on the charge after deliberating for nearly two days.

The nine-day trial was in itself a retrial after a previous jury failed to reach a verdict in February. The Crown indicated it would not seek a further retrial.

The charge of conspiring to cause explosions with intent to endanger life was dropped for both Cottage and Jackson.

A formal not guilty verdict was also entered for Jackson with respect to the charge of possession of explosives that could reasonably be suspected to be for an unlawful purpose. Cottage, meanwhile, pleaded guilty to the possession charge during the first trial. He will be sentenced on 31 July and faces a maximum jail term of 14 years.

During the trial, the jury was told how 11 boxes of chemicals that could be combined to cause a dangerous explosion were found at Mr Cottage’s house.

He bought them online in September 2006 on the instructions of Mr Jackson, prosecutor Louise Blackwell QC said.

The dentist became friends with Mr Cottage – who has failed to win three local elections – at BNP meetings.

Lancashire Police were alerted to the plot by Mr Cottage’s wife, Kerena, 29, who told her social worker she was scared they were going to test chemical bombs in countryside near Preston.

During a two-day search of Mr Cottage’s house, officers found ball bearings, a hoard of food and weapons including a crossbow, airgun and several BB guns.

Ms Blackwell said Mr Cottage told police he had stockpiled the items over fears the country was on the brink of civil war.

The court also heard that officers searched dentist Mr Jackson’s home a few days later on 1 October 2006.

Mr Jackson told police that Cottage had bought the chemicals to teach his son chemistry, but the court heard Mr Cottage told police they were for Mr Jackson to teach him how to make fireworks.

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