Man accused of terrorism built collection of weapons due to interest in Lord of the Rings, court hears
A man accused of storing swords, axes and knives with explosives and ammunition at his Co Antrim home built a collection due to an interest in The Lord of the Rings and Gladiator movies, the High Court heard today.
Robert Templeton, 33, also claimed chemicals found alongside industrial quantities of sugar and suspected pipe bomb component parts were because of his enthusiasm for making rockets and pyrotechnics.
Together with his 31-year-old classroom assistant wife Natasha, he currently faces terrorist-related charges connected to the seizure of around 130 items from their Cladytown Road property in Glarryford, near Ballymena on July 5.
Despite previous reports that the couple were allegedly stockpiling food for an "end times" scenario, a judge was told Templeton is believed to have hoarded goods legitimately purchased online.
Based on a report from a consultant psychiatrist, prosecution counsel Kate McKay described the defendant's behaviour as "eccentric".
She said: "It's now accepted there doesn't appear to be any sinister background to it.
"The press had described it as a doomsday-type scenario where they gathered together all these items for the possibility of shortages."
Templeton was granted bail on conditions including a ban on acquiring anything over the internet.
He is charged with offences including possessing explosives in suspicious circumstances and with intent to endanger life, possessing ammunition with intent, having documents useful to terrorism, and preparation of terrorist acts.
Alleged component parts for multiple Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), chemicals including ammonium nitrate, and ball-bearings were found during searches at his home.
Quantities of 9mm ammunition, shotgun cartridges, a machine gun barrel, swords, knives, axes, knuckle dusters, a crossbow and a large number of power tools were also seized.
Mrs McKay said police found a publication called the US Army Improvised Munitions Handbook.
A previous court was told Natasha Templeton - who is already on bail - denied knowing the contents of any of the packages bought online.
During interviews her husband claimed many of the items were ordered but never opened, while others had been purchased from a shop in Belfast.
"He said the swords found were part of a collection and that he was interested in films using swords, for example The Lord of the Rings and Gladiator," Mrs McKay submitted.
Templeton also told detectives he had a keen interest in firearms due to his past membership of a local gun club.
"He said he had an interest in making rockets and pyrotechnics, hence the chemicals in his house," the prosecutor added.
Defence counsel cited his client's physical injuries and mental health problems which resulted in a "spiral of depression".
But referring to the medical report, he stressed: "This is not someone who is suffering from paranoia or grandiose beliefs.
"This was described as displacement activity; the purchasing of a multiplicity of items."
He argued that Templeton bought goods from eBay and other legal sites, rather than going onto the dark web.
"The overwhelming proportion of items weren't even opened, they appear to be hoarded," the barrister added.
Granting bail, Mr Justice Maguire imposed conditions including a complete prohibition on any online activity.
The judge pointed out: "He appears to have become progressively captured by the internet, and has spent hours upon hours on the internet, often acquiring materials that would take his interest."
Belfast Telegraph Digital