Bomb device 'only moved as it was loose', court told
A journalist shown a controversial bomb detector told a court that the explosives indicator only moved because “it was loose and wiggling about”.
Simon de Bruxelles was following up a story from the New York Times about West Country businessman Jim McCormick, 56, who had apparently made millions of dollars from selling the useless devices.
The Times’ West Country-based reporter said he met up with McCormick at his headquarters – a converted dairy in Sparkford, Somerset.
McCormick told the reporter he was a former police officer who had worked for Pye and Phillips, the Old Bailey heard.
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The businessman said he moved to the US and sold “gun detectors” to American schools.
“He said someone had looked into the gun detector and found there was nothing there,” said Mr de Bruxelles.
McCormick then created his own machines which he claimed could detect either drugs or explosives, depending which programme card was inserted into the machine.
“He said he didn’t know how it worked but he developed it with the same sort of technology used in the gun detectors,” said the reporter.
Mr de Bruxelles said there did not seem to be many components in the device. He said McCormick admitted “the fact it had no electronics or moving parts was a problem for clients”.
“He was developing a model which would have a flashing light on it to show it was working,” said Mr de Bruxelles.
McCormick claimed the device worked on the process of nuclear quadropile attraction and told the reporter to look it up on the internet.
“He said he couldn’t make it work himself because he didn’t have sufficient training,” Mr de Bruxelles added.
But McCormick agreed to allow Mr de Bruxelles and his photographer to test the device for themselves.
The hand-held machine had an antenna which was supposed to point to suspect items.
“Supposedly it was going to point to a firework he had hidden in a brown paper bag in the area,” the reporter explained.
McCormick told him interference from different chemicals including hair dye and fertiliser spread in the fields around the dairy could reduce the effectiveness of the device.
Asked how effective it had been, the reporter said the antenna did not work.
“It did move but that was only because my hand moved,” he said.
“It did not move on its own volition. It moved when I was walking around because it was loose and wiggling a bit.”
Mr de Bruxelles asked McCormick how he could charge $8,000 for a device that had “so little to it”.
“His exact words were, ‘It is rather primitive so we are going to put a flashing light on the new model’.
McCormick claimed he had sold 1,500 of the units around the world and made upwards of $12 million.
The businessman, of Park Farm, Hambridge, Langport, Somerset, who also owns a luxury property in The Circus, Bath, denies three counts of making an article for use in fraud.
The trial continues.