Ex-mayor guilty over explosions

John Larsen, a former mayor of Denbigh, has been found guilty of causing a series of explosions in the town. He has been sentenced to 18 years in prison, for what the judge called 'a sustained campaign of quite deliberate terror.'

Former mayor was 'cold and calculating'

North Wales Police have welcomed the sentencing of former Denbigh mayor John Larsen saying the case showed how he 'betrayed the trust' of those in the community.

"This was a unique case. On one hand we had a man who publically presented as a pillar and voice of the local community who people went to for advice and comfort in a time of crisis; on the other we had a cold and calculating individual who quite obviously revelled in the attention he created for himself through the setting of improvised explosive devices in the Lenton Pool area of Denbigh.

"In the early part of 2013, the community of Lenton Pool was regularly awoken by a series of loud bangs. By April some residents were quite literally terrified.

"The community had been rocked by what became a series of explosions, culminating in the detonation of a metal ball bearing filled device causing extensive damage and firing shrapnel through a nearby house window. It is extremely fortunate that no one was seriously injured or in the vicinity at that particular time.

"During this period, John Larson came to the fore as a local leader and the community trusted him. He betrayed that trust in a terrible way and he now faces the consequences of his actions.

“We welcome the sentence passed today.”

– Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Williams, North Wales Police

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Pictures released of seized explosive devices

North Wales Police have released images showing some of the explosive devices and materials used by former mayor John Larsen.

Materials seized by North Wales Police
Materials seized by North Wales Police Credit: North Wales Police
Materials seized by North Wales Police
Materials seized by North Wales Police Credit: North Wales Police
Materials seized by North Wales Police
Materials seized by North Wales Police Credit: North Wales Police

Former mayor's 'campaign of deliberate terror'

Sentencing John Larsen to 18 years in prison, Judge Merfyn Hughes said the former mayor had subjected the residents of Denbigh to "a sustained campaign of quite deliberate terror".

He said Larsen's victims were residents of the community he had been elected to serve. Hew said: "Even while detonating these devices, you continued the pretence of showing concern for their welfare and co-operating with the police."

He said Larsen's actions had caused two residents to sell their homes and move away out of fear. He said he was sure someone would have been killed or seriously injured if Larsen hadn't been stopped.

"The jury have seen your evidence for what it is. A dismal attempt to avoid responsibility by one lie after another."

– Judge Merfyn Hughes

CPS: Ex-mayor caused 'significant alarm and distress'

The Crown Prosecution Service says the former mayor of Denbigh, John Larsen, caused "significant alarm and distress" to many residents, through "incredibly reckless behaviour."

John Larsen’s incredibly reckless behaviour caused damage to property, as well as significant alarm and distress to many residents of Lenten Pool. In many ways it is simply good fortune that his actions did not have far more serious consequences.John Larsen is an individual who has held positions of trust and responsibility within the local community and it is disappointing that he chose to abuse the trust that many local people had placed in him. He has failed to take any responsibility for his actions and it is right that he has now been forced to face up to his offences in a criminal court.

I would like to commend North Wales Police for their first class investigation into these incidents, which enabled us to build a very strong prosecution case against Larsen. I would also like to thank all those who supported the prosecution as witnesses during the trial.

– Karen Dixon, District Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service Wales

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Colleague: 'Shock' that Larsen had caused explosions

Colin L Hughes, who served alongside John Larsen on Denbigh Town Council, said he was one of the last people you would suspect of causing the explosions.

He told our reporter Lorna Prichard "it's difficult for me to say anything negative" about the former mayor - it was "a shock, to a lot of people" to learn that he was responsible.

Larsen had been reporting explosions he caused

The former mayor of Denbigh, John Larsen, had been reporting the explosions, which he caused himself, to the police.

He claimed he found a device planted in an advertising board, and told the shop owners.

Helen Richards, a worker at the shop in Denbigh, said it was "strange", as they had not even noticed, so they told the police to check on Larsen.

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