A MAN who left what he thought was a bomb on a Newport industrial estate last year, with a note attached saying ‘Alla Boom! I hope Binladin’s blow up!’ was detained under the Mental Health Act.
Phillip Balmont, 28, of Tyntyla Anenue, Pentre, was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia when he left his attempt at an explosive device against a wall of Wickes DIY store on Barrack Hill, Newport on April 4 last year, Cardiff Crown Court heard.
After the ‘bomb’ was discovered, soldiers from Hereford carried out a controlled detonation before they realised it could not actually have exploded as it was made from washing powder and the body building supplement creatine.
Police were called about 11.40am, although the device had been seen earlier by a man who worked on the site by Heidenheim Drive, Gareth James, prosecuting, said.
“He says first he thought it was a prank. When he read the letter attached to the device he became more concerned. The note read: “Alla boom! This device is mooive secitive I hope Binladin’s blow up! [sic]’”
Police feared it could be a real bomb and evacuated customers and staff of Wickes and Aldi stores. They cordoned off around 100 metres around the site, stretching as far as Heidenheim Drive and bringing part of Newport to a standstill for several hours.
Balmont was found out after his mother heard about the disruption and contacted police, telling them that morning her son had talked about making a bomb and leaving it outside Wilkinson, the court heard.
He had also said he wanted to find a white sheet and a firearm so he could take a photograph posing as an Al-Qaeda terrorist, Mr James said.
When police found Balmont at the Shell Garage off Malpas Road he told them, ‘I know I’m ill, I’m just not well that’s all,’ the court heard.
Balmont has 22 previous convictions for 59 offences, the court heard, and had suffered mental health problems for a considerable time exacerbated by substance abuse, in particular amphetamines.
He pleaded guilty to placing an article with intent.
Psychiatrist Neetha Byrappa said: “His intent, or his understanding, was he had placed an explosive device.”
Judge David Wynne Morgan detained Balmont under Section 37 of the Mental Health Act.
He said: “You did something not just very foolish but very wicked. You caused a lot of fright and anxiety and in addition to that you caused massive disruption to that part of Newport.
“Whilst this was not a device which was in fact explosive, that was purely because of your ignorance in how to make the wretched thing.”
“You will be detained in hospital until such time as the doctors are satisfied to recommend your release.”
He also imposed a restriction order preventing Balmont from leaving the hospital where he will be detained.