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British Soldier Sentenced to Two Years in Prison for Making Nail Bomb

Ryan McGee's journal was filled with references to extremist groups such as the National Front, British National Party and the Ku Klux Klan.

by Sally Hayden
Nov 28 2014, 6:10pm

Image via Facebook

A British soldier has been sentenced to two years in prison for making a homemade nail bomb.

Ryan McGee, 20, fashioned the bomb from 181 metal screws and many shards of glass. He claimed he put it together "out of boredom" while on leave from the army.

He was also charged with possession of The Anarchist Cookbook, a "survival guide" by William Powell which is banned in the UK and a number of other countries. The book includes detailed advice on explosives, "natural" lethal weapons, and information on the uses and effects of drugs.

McGee's family home in Greater Manchester was initially searched for an unrelated reason, but police discovered the incendiary device in a bedroom. They called in bomb disposal experts, and began an investigation.

McGee's bedroom contained flags of the English Defense League, a far-right group whose members have been accused of attacks on minorities, particularly Muslims. On his computer police found orders for guides to make booby traps, as well as for hydrochloric acid, acetone, filter papers, and peroxide. Another personal computer in Germany, where he was deployed at the time of his arrest, showed search history that included attempts to discover how to purchase guns and illegal weapons online.

McGee's homemade bomb contained 181 metal screws and many shards of glass.

McGee also kept a journal which he called "Ryan's Story Book." This was full of pictures and references to right-wing groups such as the British National Party, the National Front and the Ku Klux Klan. His defence lawyer, Antony Chinn QC, argued that the Scooby Doo sticker on the front cover was a clear sign of how immature he was.

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McGee was serving with 5th Battalion The Rifles when he was arrested, in December 2013, at an army base in Germany.

McGee had an array of imitation weapons and rifles in his room. 

While making the case for the prosecution, Roger Smart said: "This case involves a young man, a serving soldier, who hand made a viable bomb in the bedroom of his childhood home.

"He surfed the internet, he bought supplies, and he watched videos and read books about how to make explosive devices."

He added that while McGee's behavior suggested a "preoccupation that goes far beyond any amateur enthusiast's collection," it was agreed that McGee was not a terrorist.

While ruling on the case on Friday, judge Brian Barker said: "The fact of the matter is any explosive device in the wrong hands could cause untold misery to anyone on the receiving end.

"Sadly we live in a violent age. Let's be quite clear that any experimentation by anybody with these kinds of weapons must lead to severe sentences."

Addressing McGee, he added: "What you have lost is your reputation and your future but I hope in due course you can make amends for that."

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Follow Sally Hayden on Twitter: @sallyhayd