AN "obsessive loner" has been jailed for planting a homemade bomb in a post box and sending child porn to schools in Bolton.

Iain Merrick, aged 39, waged a long-running harassment campaign against the Royal Mail because he believed his mail was being sent to other addresses.

The grudge against the postal service resulted in Merrick targeting postal workers, publicly claiming one was a paedophile.

Judge Martin Steiger QC, sentencing, said: "It escalated to be a ruthless, relentless and ingenious wage against local postal workers.

"The defendant used his high intelligence and technical sophistication to wage it."

Vanessa Thomson, prosecuting, said Merrick's behaviour started off as being a "nuisance" but became "sinister" when a postman discovered a makeshift bomb while emptying a post box in Winter Hey Lane In Horwich on April 15, 2011.

The Army's Royal Logistics Corps was drafted in to help and the area had to be cordoned off.

Ms Thomson said the package was found to contain two nails, wires, a bulb, a battery and a circuit.

Match heads, fish hooks and razor blades were also found.

Ms Thomson said: "If the circuit was completed it would have burned fiercely with the potential of causing injury to the person holding the device."


The court heard that it could have "certainly caused injury to whoever came into contact with it".

During the spring of 2011 stickers started appearing around Horwich naming a postal worker as a convicted paedophile, the court was told.

Months later, in October, 2011 six Bolton schools, St Joseph's High School, Leverhulme Park Primary School, Lostock Primary School, High Lawn Primary School, Oxford Grove Primary School and The Valley Primary School received two indecent images of children.

The photographs contained the names of two postal workers.

Police, fearing the workers were involved in child abuse started to investigate and both workers were visited by police.

Both people named Merrick when asked whether anyone had a grudge against them.

The defendant also posted mail to his and a neighbouring home in the names of six Royal Mail workers.

Police raided Merrick's home in Cheriton Gardens, Horwich, in October, 2011, and discovered a pen drive containing terrorist-related material and indecent images of children, including the images sent to the schools.

Files included information about starting fires with electric timers and an "anarchist's cookbook".

Notebooks containing instructions about how to make improvised explosive devices and how to search for components were also found.

Police found more than 1,000 indecent images of children ranging in severity from one to four - five is the most disturbing level.

Manchester Crown Court heard one of the victims has since moved out of the area and changed her job.

Both were said to be left very fearful after Merrick used Facebook and other websites to obtain information and photographs of them.

Benjamin Myers QC, defending, said Merrick is an "unremarkable man of fragile character who reacted in an unjustifiable way".

He said medical reports found he suffered from no mental illnesses or personality disorders but had traits of Aspergers syndrome and obsessive behaviour.

Merrick was convicted by a jury of sending an explosive substance and 21 counts of of possessing and distributing indecent images of children.

He continues to deny the crimes, despite being found guilty in December last year.

Judge Steiger said: "This campaign caused intense distress, not only to employees but also to the schools and their staff who opened the revolting images sent.

"It must have been perfectly obvious this was a wicked thing to do."

He added: "Merrick, in my judgement, can be described as an obsessive loner but someone who is highly intelligent - one who takes his interests to extreme lengths."

The police and the military were praised for their work dealing with the crimes.

Merrick was jailed for seven years for sending an explosive substance, and he must spend five years on licence when he is released.

Merrick was ordered to sign he sex offenders' register and given a lifetime sexual offences prevention order.