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Mantrap criminal fails appeal bid

PUBLISHED: 14:13 12 March 2008 | UPDATED: 09:49 12 August 2010

A FORMER Government scientist found guilty of setting a trap in his shed to stop burglars has failed in an Appeal Court bid to overturn his conviction.  Nigel Cockburn, 54, of Cloo-nmore Avenue, Orpington was one of the very few people ever charged with

A FORMER Government scientist found guilty of setting a trap in his shed to stop burglars has failed in an Appeal Court bid to overturn his conviction.

Nigel Cockburn, 54, of Cloo-nmore Avenue, Orpington was one of the very few people ever charged with "setting a man trap with intent" under the Victorian-era Offences against the Person Act 1861 after creating the contraption at his property in Wood Street, Swanley.

He was found guilty by a Maidstone Crown Court jury last year, but his lawyers argued at London's Criminal Appeal Court on February 28 that the conviction was "unsafe" and should be overturned.

Sir Igor Judge, President of the Queen's Bench Division, said the potentially lethal "contraption" came to light in July 2006 when an army officer pushed open the door of Cockburn's shed during a "lawful investigation" of his property.

It was made from a spiked metal object, two heavy pieces of steel and 20 four inch nails connected to the door by a wire.

As the army officer entered to search he protected himself so the trap hit his arm and not the face. Cockburn claimed the contraption did not amount to the charge.

Dismissing the appeal, Sir Igor said: "His injuries could well have been very much more serious than they were."

Cockburn did not appeal against his other convictions for assault occasioning actual bodily harm and possession of ammunition without a firearms certificate.

He was sentenced to 18 months jail, plus another 18 month on licence in the community.

ktneditorial@archant.co.uk

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