A TOWN’S former mayor denied setting off an improvised explosive device near his home with ball-bearings added as shrapnel.
John Larsen, 46, insisted he played no part in various explosions which brought fear at Denbigh earlier this year.
The town councillor told police he had experimented with different powder mixtures and he wanted to surprise his wife with a homemade fireworks display, a jury heard.
Mr Larsen (pictured right)claimed that performing magic was one of his hobbies.
He told Caernarfon crown court he bought some chemicals for magic tricks and others for fireworks.
He insisted he didn't know who was responsible for the explosions late at night in the Lenten Pool area of Denbigh, including the main one on March 24 when an improvised explosive device was placed under a Land Rover Discovery.
Det Sgt Tony Underhill told a Caernarfon crown court jury that police had received many reports from members of the public about events in Denbigh.
He said a major investigation began and there were covert patrols and covert cameras installed.
Larsen was arrested on April 19 and quizzed by detectives during three days.
Det Sgt Underhill said Mr Larsen had told police he was either asleep with his wife or downstairs at home watching TV or playing computer games when incidents occurred.
The officer said: "The defendant said he had purchased a number of items from internet websites in order to have his own firework display. He had first become interested because he was on the fireworks committee on the town council."
Larsen had decided to research and make his own fireworks. He had a book about pyrotechnics.
“He admitted experimenting with different mixtures of powder and igniting them in his back garden.”
He had wanted to surprise his wife with a display when he completed making fireworks. But he never ignited mixtures at night.
Det Sgt Underhill said Larsen claimed on March 24 he had heard “drunken shouting and laughing” outside and he noticed two drunken women.
He decided to check his car before going to bed.
After he had returned home the explosion occurred.
When Mr Larsen took the stand he continued to deny setting off the explosions.
Defence barrister Gordon Hennell asked him :"Did you ever use any ball-bearings as shrapnel in a device? Larsen replied :"No, never."
He accepted experimenting with fuels for firework rockets.
Mr Hennell: “The suggestion is that March 24 you have not simply experimented but set off an explosive device which has got ball-bearings added.”
Larsen maintained: “No, that's incorrect. I didn't do that.”
The barrister said the prosecution alleged that on numerous occasions from February until his arrest in April he was responsible for various explosions, March 24 being the most significant when an IED was placed under a Land Rover Discovery.
Larsen maintained that he had smoke flares for a Lara Croft themed photo-shoot.
But this didn't go ahead because of the cost of hiring a model.
Prosecuting barrister Wyn Lloyd Jones put it to him: “Do you accept a homemade bomb with ball-bearings was set off in the square in front of your house?”
Larsen: “According to the police, yes.”
Mr Lloyd Jones asked him whether he wanted to distance himself “from the sheer horror of what you did?”
Larsen said :"No."
The prosecutor said all the components for the device were in his home. But Larsen described it as "standard firework material."
Mr Lloyd Jones suggested the items had nothing to do with magic tricks and children's entertainment. Larsen's interest in fireworks “became a lot more sinister.”
The defendant declared: “No, it didn't.”
The trial continues