GUILTY: 'Obsessive' Royal Mail grudge-holder who planted bomb in post box and sent child porn to schools

The Bolton News: Army disposal experts dealing with the homemade bomb that Iain Merrick planted in a Horwich post box Army disposal experts dealing with the homemade bomb that Iain Merrick planted in a Horwich post box

A BOMB maker with a grudge against postal workers is facing jail after he was found guilty of planting a homemade explosive device in a post-box and posting child porn images to schools.

Iain Merrick spent time researching al-Qaeda and anarchists’ bomb-making techniques before planting the bomb, which contained metal fragments and hooks, in a post box in Winter Hey Lane, Horwich, on April 15, 2011.

During an eight-day trial at Manchester Crown Court a jury heard how unemployed Merrick became obsessed with making complaints about other people’s post being delivered to his flat in Cheriton Gardens, Horwich.

The court heard how he blamed postal workers and his neighbour, then used the internet to research their private lives.

His vendetta against the Royal Mail took a sinister turn when he planted an explosive device in a postbox, which was found by postman Ian Platt.

The incident led to businesses being evacuated, a 100 metre cordon being placed around the scene and army bomb disposal experts were called in.

The bomb failed to go off, but weeks later Merrick continued his hate campaign against the Royal Mail, putting stickers around the Horwich area falsely claiming a worker was a convicted paedophile.

Then in October and November 2011 six schools were sent indecent images of children bearing the names of two Royal Mail staff on the back of the photographs.

The innocent workers identified Merrick, who had no previous criminal record, as someone who had a grudge against them and he was arrested on suspicion of sending the images.

Subsequent forensic analysis of Merrick’s DNA found 13 matches on the suspicious package found earlier in the year.

During their investigation, officers from the North West Counter Terrorism Unit found a pen drive at Merrick’s flat containing a series of files detailing how to make explosives and notes the 39-year-old had scribbled on pieces of paper about bomb making procedures.

They also came across internet searches Merrick had made on a mobile phone for pseudo nude photographs of Harry Potter actress Emma Watson and an SD card containing more than 3,400 pornographic images, some of which were of children.

In his defence Merrick had claimed he liked researching subjects, especially chemistry, and experimented with making explosives, even accidentally blowing himself up on a couple of occasions.

But he did not accept he had made the Winter Hey Lane device or waged a hate campaign against Royal Mail staff.

However, it took a jury of seven women and five men just over three hours to find him guilty of all the 22 charges he had denied, including sending explosives with intent and making, possessing and distributing indecent photographs of children.


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Merrick stood emotionless in the dock as the verdicts were read out.

Judge Martin Steiger QC remanded Merrick in custody and ordered that reports on him be prepared before sentencing on February 19.

The reports will include a psychiatric evaluation focused on Merrick’s possible paranoid and compulsive behaviour and potential danger to the public.

But he warned Merrick: “The outcome is inevitable in terms of the format of sentence.”

Merrick was also told he must sign the sex offenders’ register.

Read more about Merrick, including how we covered the incident at the time, here:

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