Jim’ll Fix It fan guilty over home explosion

A Jim’ll Fix It fan who once asked to throw a grenade on children’s television has been found guilty of causing an explosion in his home.

Matthew Haydon suffered wounds to his chest and hands in a blast at the four-bedroom property in the Bedfordshire village of Sharnbrook on April 10 last year.

Afterwards, the 48-year-old told police of a longstanding interest in weaponry, citing his request to the former BBC children’s show Jim’ll Fix It.

He said he had been “researching” explosives after being affected by what had happened at an Ariana Grande concert, in an apparent reference to the Manchester Arena suicide bombing.

On Friday, Haydon, of Loring Road, Sharnbrook, was found guilty by a majority of causing an explosion likely to endanger life or property.

An item taped to a tree, which was later detonated by Matthew Haydon (Bedfordshire Police/PA)
An item taped to a tree, which was later detonated by Matthew Haydon (Bedfordshire Police/PA)

Previously, prosecutor Margia Mostafa said the defendant had lived with his mother at the family home of 45 years.

His mother, who had been away for the weekend, returned home on April 10 2023 and heard a loud bang from Haydon’s home laboratory, jurors heard.

Haydon was shouting “help me, help me”, having suffered burns and bleeding.

The court was told that Haydon’s mother put him in the shower to relieve the burns and bleeding and called 999.

Neighbours also heard a loud thudding boom, felt their house shake and saw that the defendant’s window had smashed, jurors were told.

After being treated in hospital, Haydon was interviewed by police and admitted causing the explosion, the court heard.

He said: “I don’t believe it was malicious. It was an accident. It wasn’t an intended detonation.”

He said he had always been “obsessed with all kinds of weaponry, explosives in particular”.

“I think I wrote off to Jim’ll Fix It to ask if I could throw a hand grenade,” he said.

He told officers he was “researching about explosives” because of “what happened at the Ariana Grande concert”.

He said it had affected him “quite badly”, adding: “It upset me, yeah.”

The defendant also told police he had issues related to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Matthew Haydon was found guilty of causing an explosion in his home (Bedfordshire Police/PA)
Matthew Haydon was found guilty of causing an explosion in his home (Bedfordshire Police/PA)

Police searched the defendant’s home laboratory and seized chemicals, equipment, electronic devices, and handwritten notes, jurors heard.

On his laptop were instructions for explosives, and there was evidence that he had bought chemicals online, the court was told.

Jurors were shown footage of the defendant carrying out various experiments with explosives which were found on a camera.

In one video, Haydon was heard commenting on a passing dog walker before detonating a device strapped to a tree.

A few days before the blast in his house, Haydon had messaged a contact about an incident in which his “life flashed in front” of him.

He wrote: “I was making a liquid expl & still developing best practice etc and put a wee tad too much sulphuric acid in to fast and it erupted to the ceiling in flames!!! …. Sum1 upder is looking after me man I swear!!! (sic)”

Samples of chemicals seized from the house were found to include sensitive high explosives triacetone triperoxide (TATP) and hexamethylene triperoxide diamine (HMTD).

Damage to Haydon’s T‐shirt and an orange glove he had been wearing showed he had been in “close proximity” to the explosion, the court heard.

Chemical analysis of samples taken from the clothing indicated that HMTD was the explosive charge.

The defendant accepted he had mixed chemicals which caused an explosion, but disputed that the level of explosive used was sufficient to endanger life or property.

Giving evidence, he told jurors he had been “complacent” and should have worn protective clothing.

He said: “If you don’t give that substance the respect it is due it will turn around and bite you. And that’s what happened – I got complacent.”

He said he had been encouraged by a Job Centre to start up his own business and had been looking at setting up a pest control company.

Haydon described conducting experiments using a glass microwave plate, saying there had been no warning before things went wrong.

He said: “When something like that goes off in your hand, my whole arm was completely numb and there was a very loud ringing.”

“I couldn’t hear, I was trying to shout and couldn’t hear myself shouting. I couldn’t see, I dropped to my knees.”

Following the guilty verdict, Haydon was remanded into custody to be sentenced at a later date.

A damaged window after an explosion in Matthew Haydon’s home laboratory (Bedfordshire Police/PA)
A damaged window after an explosion in Matthew Haydon’s home laboratory (Bedfordshire Police/PA)

Detective Inspector Rich Stott, of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire major crime unit, said: “Haydon had developed an obsession with explosives, and he was making his own highly sensitive explosive substances.

“These substances are inherently dangerous and are not produced commercially due to the risk they present. He had already had many near misses but continued to try to make the substances and to cause small explosions.

“Haydon was fully aware of the risk that a larger explosion could take place. Furthermore, this could have been so much worse, he was lucky to have not caused more harm to himself, his mother and neighbouring properties.

“I would like to thank all the emergency responders and specialist teams who deployed to deal with this incident and the investigation team who has worked so hard on this complex investigation.”

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More