Belfast Telegraph

Ex-soldier lets bombs off 'to clear his head'


A former soldier accused of having explosives containing shrapnel claimed he detonates them in a forest "to clear his head", the High Court has heard.

Police discovered a batch of improvised explosives at John Rankin's Co Antrim home after intercepting blank-firing gas pistols in the post.

The 51-year-old former Royal Irish Regiment soldier allegedly fought in the Falklands War and has been treated for post-traumatic stress disorder since being discharged from the army, prosecutors said.

Rankin, of Edward Road in Whitehead, faces charges of having firearms and explosives in suspicious circumstances.

Opposing his bail application, a prosecution barrister said: "He indicated he went into a forest in the direction of Larne where he would let off these devices.

"He said he did it for something to do and to clear his head."

Rankin's defence counsel insisted the guns were not capable of being fired, adding that Rankin has a history of collecting ornamental weapons.

Rankin was granted bail.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph