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Pair jailed over pipe bomb attacks have appeals thrown out

By Staff Reporter

Two men jailed over a series of bombs planted at houses in Staffordshire have lost appeals against their convictions.

Jason Taft (46), of Bagnall, near Stoke, and Thomas Leslie (39), of Moneyreagh, Co Down, were part of a group that conspired to explode pipe bombs.

The pair targeted workers linked to a Cheadle scrapyard in a dispute over money in August 2012.

They were convicted of plotting to cause explosions and to make threats to kill after a trial at Stoke Crown Court in 2013.

Taft was jailed for 16 years and Leslie for 14.

Yesterday, they took their cases to the Court of Appeal in London in a bid to overturn their convictions.

But three senior judges threw out their motions, which Lord Justice Holroyde said were "unarguable".

The court heard that on August 3, 2012, three devices were exploded outside the homes of scrapyard employees.

The prosecution alleged that Taft had been in dispute with the businessman and that Leslie's role was to recruit a bomb-maker in Ireland.

They appealed due to alleged poor directions given by the trial judge to the jury and the emergence of "fresh evidence".

The new evidence was CCTV footage from Taft's home at Greenfields Farm, showing a man carrying what looked like a bomb component.

The prosecution had not disclosed the existence of the evidence, lawyers complained yesterday.

But, ruling against the pair, Lord Justice Holroyde said prosecutors had not breached their duty in not flagging up the footage.

He added: "We are satisfied there is nothing in the footage which provides any grounds for allowing the appeal."

The appeal bids were refused.

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