Man caught with homemade explosive device sparking evacuation jailed

Christopher Scarr told nurses that he learned to make bombs from 'being in the army' and had guns in his gas cupboard.

A man who built a homemade explosive forcing around 60 people to flee their homes has been jailed for 30 months.

Christopher Scarr was caught with the device in a cupboard at the property in Glasgow’s Springburn on April 17, 2023.

The 41-year-old had earlier emailed a doctor’s surgery claiming he had built a “TRI factor bomb” stating that “they might force me into something I don’t want to do”.

Scarr told nurses that he learned to make bombs from “being in the army” and had guns in his gas cupboard.

Officers raided his property and found a device made of three black tubes with orange wire twisted on to a black box.

Around 60 residents were forced to flee their homes, a large police cordon was put in place and roads were closed.

The device was later found to be three pyrotechnics held together for outside use which would flash and bang when activated.

Scarr pled guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court to behaving in a threatening or abusive manner.

He also admitted making or knowingly have in his possession or control an explosive substance.

Sheriff Andrew Cubie said: “This was, as you accept, a very serious offence and you are right to be shocked at the consequences.

“You threatened front line NHS workers and mentioned potential explosive devices.

“Police attended your property and saw what they reasonably thought was an explosive device.

“Suspicion was driven by what you threatened in terms of a homemade bomb of some sort.

“The complaint you had was about your housing situation and it is baffling that you involved those people in the threats you made.

“There was a failure to recognise the risk and the threat passed.”

The sheriff imposed 12 months supervision upon Scarr following his release from prison.

The court heard that Scarr sent a ranting email to Springburn Medical Practice shortly after midnight on April 17.

He said: “I don’t know why I trusted you with information I never divulged to any soul.

“The housing officer sent armed police to my door and that got me angry as last time I saw you they alleged I assaulted (woman).

“I have built a TRI factor bomb with black powder igniting the thermite and causing nitrogen high explosive all connected to three anti-personal percussion mines that are also friction activated.

“I will take a picture of the device I constructed, I have now taken the device apart. but I’m really worried that they might force me into something I don’t want to do.

“I don’t want to kill anybody but I’m finding it hard to keep my cool.

Members of staff at the practice alerted police to the email.

Two nurses attended Scarr’s home for a check up on a woman who also lived at the property.

Scarr told them that he purchased oxygen tanks to provide care for the woman’s COPD and that he had guns in his gas cupboard.

A nurse later found oxygen bottles in the cupboard and told Scarr not to administer them to the woman.

Scarr then said: “I can make bombs from being in the army.”

Police then attended Scarr’s home when a search was carried out.

Scarr was asked why he sent the email and he stated that he had deactivated the device.

Scarr told officers that he was “happy” for them to search the property but said: “You are not going in the gas cupboard.”

Prosecutor Alasdair Knox said: “Officers looked in the cupboard and what looked to be an improvised explosive device was within.

“Police evacuated all witnesses from the building, there was a 200 metre police cordon and road closures. 60 residents were evacuated for public safety measures.

Scarr was arrested where he made admissions but added that he did not put powder or a battery in the device.

He said: “I can go up and deactivate it for you.”

The device was examined by specialist officers where it was found to contain an explosive substance.

It was stated that “the initiation system of the suspected device was not viable.”

Once ignited, the device would be thrown to the ground and five seconds later it would explode with a flash then a loud bang.

Greg Cunningham, defending, told the sentencing: “He regrets his behaviour and is shocked and remains shocked at the consequences.

“The whole thing has hit him hard, how far this has went.

“He recognises the alarm he created and realises the risk and necessary steps.

“He feels he didn’t build something to hurt anyone or with the intention of using it – what he built did not require in depth knowledge.” 

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code
Posted in