Engineer found guilty of placing fake bomb on busway

Psychiatric reports will be prepared on a man who planted a realistic bomb at the construction site office for the Luton and Dunstable busway.

William Robinson, 35, a self-employed engineer, said he was doing God’s work when he placed the ‘bomb’ outside the Plant Hire site in Station Road, Dunstable, in February 2010.

When it was discovered, at 7.30am, it caused the site, homes in the area and Wickes’ store to be evacuated. Roads were also closed while the bomb squad was called from RAF Northolt, Luton Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Laura Blackband said that in 2010 trees and bushes were being “stripped away” for the route, which was being built on the disused railway line.

Robinson and his lodger Bradley Riley-Hawkins, 19, were seen in the area earlier in the week putting tape around the trees. “When the defendant was asked what they were doing, he said he was putting preservation orders on the trees and was working for God. He pointed up at the sky,” said Ms Blackband.

On February 18 he allegedly hurled a Molotov cocktail towards a wood chipper. It was said to have landed two metres from the chipper.

The ‘bomb’ discovered the next morning was made out of half a juice bottle. It looked like an improvised exploding device and was described by the bomb disposal team as being “incredibly realistic”.

The court heard that he had handed over his business card when he was at the site earlier. His three-storey terraced home in Hitchin Road, Luton, was searched and the police found half of the squash bottle. When they examined a computer they are said to have discovered that he had accessed bomb-making websites. He was arrested and made no comment to police questions.

Robinson pleaded not guilty to attempting to damage property belonging to Plant Hire Limited and affray on February 18 2010. He also denied placing an imitation bomb on February 19. He was convicted of all charges.

Riley-Hawkins, a Zimbabwe national, pleaded guilty on December 7 2010 to planting the bomb.

Judge Barbara Mensah adjourned sentence until May 15 for psychiatric and pre-sentence reports to be prepared. It is likely that Robinson will receive a hospital order.