Man found guilty at the Old Bailey for Sharnbook explosion

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Window damage from the Sharnbrook explosion 10 April 2023. Image: Bedfordshire Police
Window damage from the Sharnbrook explosion 10 April 2023. Image: Bedfordshire Police

A man who caused an explosion which shook Sharnbrook houses and forced the area to be evacuated has been convicted by a jury at the Old Bailey.

Matthew Haydon, 48, suffered serious injuries to his hands and chest in the blast at the home he shared with his mother in Loring Road, Sharnbrook on 10 April last year.

Roads were closed and neighbours evacuated to safe accommodation while the area was made safe.

When police searched the property after the explosion they found sensitive primary high explosive substances, numerous different chemicals, as well as designs and components for improvised explosive devices (IED’s).

The court heard that Haydon told officers that he had had “good intentions” but had gone about it the wrong way.

Denial

He denied one charge of causing an explosion likely to endanger life or cause serious injury to property but was today (19 April) convicted.

Fire and police officers were called to the scene after Haydon was taken to Bedford Hospital to be treated for his injuries.

They found a makeshift laboratory in an upstairs room, which, the court heard, Haydon’s mother called “Matt’s Chemistry Room”.

A Bedfordshire Police officer stands watch at Loring Road, Sharnbrook. Image: Bedfordshire Police
A Bedfordshire Police officer stands watch at Loring Road, Sharnbrook after the explosion in April 2023. Image: Bedfordshire Police

Haydon told police he’d had a long-standing interest in weapons and chemistry and had been researching explosives following his concerns at the Manchester bombing at an Ariana Grande concert.

DI Rich Stott of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit said: “Haydon had developed an obsession with explosives, and he was making his own highly sensitive explosive substances.

“These substances are inherently dangerous and are not produced commercially due to the risk they present. He had already had many near misses but continued to try to make the substances and to cause small explosions.

“Haydon was fully aware of the risk that a larger explosion could take place. Furthermore, this could have been so much worse, he was lucky to have not caused more harm to himself, his mother and neighbouring properties.

“I would like to thank all the emergency responders and specialist teams who deployed to deal with this incident and the investigation team who has worked so hard on this complex investigation.”

Haydon remains in custody ahead of a sentencing date.

 
 
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