A Preston man who appeared in court accused of planting a home made explosive in the Fishergate Shopping Centre has been cleared of all charges.Advertisement
The jury at Preston Crown Court unanimously found David Rutherford, 25, not guilty of making and planting the device found in the men’s toilets on December 17.
Rutherford, of Barry Avenue, Ingol, has learning difficulties and was deemed unfit to enter a plea to the charges.
Following a four day trial at Preston Crown Court the jury cleared him of making an explosive and of leaving it in the shopping centre with intent to endanger life.
The Fishergate Centre was closed to shoppers and staff after a stallholder discovered the device – made from a lego box, an aerosol, a firelighter and a toilet roll tube, placed on the seat of a toilet.
The item was on fire with flames which reached around two feet high before they were extinguished.
Bomb disposal experts were called in to the centre to make the device safe and a CCTV appeal was launched in the local press to find the man they believed to be responsible.
Rutherford was charged with making an IED with intent to endanger life or cause damage to property and doing an act with intent to cause an explosion likely to endanger life or cause damage to property.
But the jury found he was not guilty and did not do the act as charged.
He will now be released from the secure hospital where he has been held since his arrest.