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  1. ITV Report

'Racist and homophobic' bomb-maker from Devon jailed

Police found jottings in which Stephen Bracher talked about hating black & gay people. Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police

A "racist and homophobic" man has been jailed for nearly three and a half years for making potentially lethal bombs in a Breaking Bad style laboratory.

Stephen Bracher made pipe bombs and had a massive nine kg high explosive bomb in a tub under his bed at his Devon home.

The bomb was so powerful, when Navy bomb disposal experts blew it up at the Okehampton range, it sent debris flying about 100 feet into the air.

Unemployed drug user Bracher, 56, had made three pipe bombs, the huge fuel oil bomb, and 14 cardboard covered bombs at his first floor flat in Bishops Tawton, which was just 20 metres from the village primary school.

A court heard he got recipes for the bombs online by searching Google and used fertiliser from a farm to make the larger device.

Police also found notes in which he talked about hating black people and gay people, including a rant in which he described comic Lenny Henry using the N-word and his ex-wife, actress Dawn French, as 'an insult to decent white folk'.

One excerpt from his notebook said, "It is time to kill the rich, time to kill the liars, time to kill the c****. I would kill the lot of them."

Police also found a document entitled Steve's Book, which said, "I believe in freedom of speech. I believe blacks should be called n*****s, brown and yellow people should be called P***s and Ch***s."

Another part referred to Lenny Henry being a 'nasty n*****' and Dawn French as 'an insult to decent white folk'. The notes also spoke about killing the rich and other people.

Bracher got recipes for the bombs online & used fertiliser from a farm to make the larger device. Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police

Bracher was finally caught when, during a stop and search in Boots in Barnstaple, he was found carrying a knife and gun-powder. When officers searched his flat they found a hundred types of chemicals and 17 explosive devices.

His case was looked at by anti-terrorism police, who found no evidence of any immediate intention to use the bombs to carry out the threats he made in is jottings.

He claimed all the smaller devices were home made fireworks or bangers and the larger ammonia nitrate fuel oil (ANFO) bomb was part of an attempt to make his own drugs.

He told police he was also trying to make his own amphetamines and met amphetamines in an process similar to that used by amateur chemist Wilfred White in the TV series Breaking Bad.

Bracher told police he was also trying to make his own amphetamines, copying the TV series Breaking Bad. Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police

Bracher admitted three counts of having explosive substances, one of possessing a lock knife in Barnstaple High Street, and one of possessing amphetamines.

He was jailed for three years and four months by Judge David Evans at Exeter Crown Court.

He told him even the small devices were potentially lethal if anyone was in the immediate vicinity and the possible impact of the ANFO was hard to calculate.

He said the combination of the extreme views expressed in Bracher's notebook, his abuse of alcohol and drugs, and his interest in explosives meant he posed a danger to the public.

Bracher was found carrying a knife and gun-powder in a routine arrest at Boots in Barnstaple. Credit: ITV West Country

Among the views were somewhat rambling but clearly expressed racist and homophobic attitudes and hostility towards various minorities and other groups in society.

You appear to have had a cavalier attitude to the substance and the risks of storing them. It may be you began with a childish delight in watching bangers explode but your intention in mixing up nine kilograms of ANFO is a very disturbing development.

It had the potential to cause a significant explosion in a confined space such as your home. There is also the proximity a primary school.

The most significant matter in this case is the strong need for deterrence. Nobody should have this quantity of explosive devices or high explosives. Nobody should manufacture it.

The possession of such items by a drug and alcohol user who has expressed such hostility to others and has such a cavalier approach to risk is extremely concerning."

– Judge David Evans, Exeter Crown Court
Bracher admitted three counts of having explosive substances and two of possessing amphetamines and a lock knife. Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police

Mr Richard Crabb, defending, said Bracher did not realise the danger of what he was doing. He referred to the smaller devices as bangers or fireworks and said he had tested them in an isolated spot on the banks of the River Taw.

He said the ANFO was not mixed as an explosive but was part of a failed attempt to extract pure codeine from over the counter painkillers.

He also used the substance to clean items which he found while pursuing his hobby of metal detectorism which had led him to donate several finds to local museums.

He said Bracher never intended to use the explosives or to hurt anyone or cause damage. His only motivation was a fascination with chemistry and an delight in making bangs.