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Sara Cox's stalker jailed after sending suspicious package to Covid vaccine factory in Wrexham


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A Chatham man convicted of sending a fake bomb to the makers of a Covid vaccine has been jailed for 27 months.

Anthony Collins has an "obsession with sending letters and packages" and has a personality disorder.

Anthony Collins has been jailed for 27 months. Picture: Kent Police
Anthony Collins has been jailed for 27 months. Picture: Kent Police

Defence barrister Janice Brennan said: "He desperately wants to help but he doesn't know how to. There are elements of this being a cry for help.

"He knows he sends far too many packages. He just doesn't know how to stop. He would like help to stop."

But Judge David Griffith-Jones QC rejected his claims as "palpable nonsense" and described his evidence during his trial as "both childish and perverse".

The 54-year-old was arrested in January after sending a "bizarre package" to the manufacturers of the Covid Astra-Zeneca Vaccine at Wrexham-based Wockhardt in North Wales.

He was caught on CCTV shopping for parts at his local Tesco.

The judge told him: "It attracted suspicion and was treated as a potential explosive device, creating mayhem.

Watch the moment Collins was arrested

"The premises were evacuated and a 100-metre cordon installed.

"Police and the bomb squad were called and the contents were later found to be harmless."

He was found guilty by a jury at Maidstone Crown Court last week of sending the hoax package.

The judge added: "Anyone sending a bomb hoax can expect an immediate prison sentence.

Police officers at the scene outside the Wockhardt pharmaceutical manufacturing facility at the time. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA
Police officers at the scene outside the Wockhardt pharmaceutical manufacturing facility at the time. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA

"It is a very serious offence, given the times in which we currently live.

"You claimed your intentions were benign and stemming from a desire to be helpful but the evidence against you was compelling and your defence was quite absurd.

"You knew the package would be X-rayed and because of its contents would be treated as a bomb."

Anthony Collins buys supplies from Tesco

He included newspaper articles and told officers that in 1984 when PC Yvonne Fletcher was murdered outside the Libyan Embassy he wrote to encourage the chief constable to reopen the investigation and bring her killer – "that evil *******" – to justice.

Collins, now of Chatham Hill, Chatham, was convicted of one count of posting an article with the intention of inducing the belief it is likely to explode or ignite contrary to a 1977 Act.

Bomb squad soldiers and police were called to the factory in Wrexham. Picture: Regiment Royal Logistics Corps/MoD
Bomb squad soldiers and police were called to the factory in Wrexham. Picture: Regiment Royal Logistics Corps/MoD

The court also heard how the convicted paedophile was jailed in 2017 of stalking BBC Radio personality Sara Cox.

Collins had admitted harassment and sent letters to Cox and told her he was psychologically disturbed and had a criminal past but wanted her to invite him to the BBC.

When police arrested him, they found he had a fake BBC visitor's pass, Cox's sister's work address, and indecent images of girls aged four to 15.

Collins, who then lived in Afghan Road, was jailed for 16 months after a judge told him that he had "an obsessive personality".

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After the hearing, Det Inspector Adam Marshall said: "We are very pleased with the sentence. He had targeted a vaccine centre at the height of the pandemic which caused mass disruption.

"Collins conducted research and selected a target and knew full well his actions would have inducted an emergency response."

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