A Winchester College pupil brought a motorway to a 12-hour standstill after he threw a “Molotov cocktail” on to the carriageway, a court heard.
Nicholas Elger, 17, threw incendiary devices on to the M3, near Winchester, Hampshire, on two separate occasions, causing a full closure of the road for most of Saturday, Sept 23, last year . It is estimated that the damage to the local economy was £40 million - writes telegraph.co.uk
The boarding pupil at £38,000-a-year Winchester College, one of the country’s oldest public schools, shoplifted the ingredients for his “Molotov cocktail” and a second petrol bomb on two different occasions from a Tesco supermarket in the Hampshire city.
He then used the ingredients to create the incendiary devices, which he threw on to the motorway on Sept 16 and then Sept 23 last year.
Winchester Crown Court heardElger wanted to kill somebody during the second homemade bomb attack.
The court was told that a lorry driver saw a flaming device fall in front of him and was able to pull over on to the hard shoulder during the first incident.
In the second incident, a motorist said the “carriageway was ablaze with flames around the size of a person” and lasted for about 30 seconds. She was able to stop 200ft (60m) from the fire and used her vehicle to block two lanes. However, a lorry using the third lane continued driving and reignited the flames. The motorway was then closed “for a lengthy period”.
Rob Welling, prosecuting said: “Both [incendiary devices] were done in different ways. Why he changed his methods is because he was not satisfied with what took place on the first occasion.”
He added: “He does not regret the incident – he does regret not doing them differently and successfully and killing someone.”
Elger, of Winchester, also blackmailed the headmaster of Winchester College in June last year, on both occasions demanding 10 Bitcoin, worth around £20,000. He had been stealing from the school before blackmailing college officials, demanding payment for the burglaries to stop.
Robert Morris, defending, said: “These offences coincided with problems in the family home. Those problems, though significant, cannot possibly explain the change from a kind pleasant boy to suddenly change into this awful risk taking [person] without thoughts of the consequences of his actions. He has been expelled ... he has lost his friends and lost the opportunity to go to a top university which he was on course to do.”
Psychiatrists believe he might be suffering from a personality disorder or a psychotic illness.
Judge Keith Cutler, who removed reporting restrictions which had protected Elger’s identity, imposed an interim hospital order meaning Elger can continue his psychiatric treatment.
He will be sentenced on May 18 and the hospital order reviewed.
Elger admitted two charges of arson being reckless as to whether life isendangered and a further 12 charges including eight counts of burglary,two of blackmail with menaces, and two for theft.
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