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Monday, April 12, 1999 Published at 13:27 GMT 14:27 UK


Mardi Gra bomber 'missing brain part'

Eltham High Street, London, after an attack on Sainsbury's

Mardi Gra bomber Edgar Pearce has been remanded in custody after a court was told that part of his brain is missing.

Pearce, 61, of Chiswick, west London was due to be sentenced after admitting a three-year blackmail and bombing campaign.

The BBC's Valerie Jones: Scans showed that a part of his brain was destroyed
But Pearce's barrister, Nadine Radford, QC, told the Old Bailey that she had seen two doctor's reports saying he was suffering from Binswanger disease and this would lead to dementia.

She said he needed special psychiatric therapy to help him cope and come to terms with his environment.

"He is beginning to get some idea of how he got himself into this predicament," she said.

[ image: Edgar Pearce: Mardi Gra bomber]
Edgar Pearce: Mardi Gra bomber
A recent advanced brain scan had shown that part of his brain was missing.

Recorder of London Michael Hyam adjourned the case until Wednesday so that a neuro-psychiatrist could give evidence.

But he warned Pearce that he should not get his hopes up that he will be sent to a hospital.

He said there were "very scanty grounds" for thinking that a section under the Mental Health Act would be appropriate, but he allowed the adjournment to ensure the defendant received his rights.

Customers stalked

Pearce blackmailed Barclays Bank and Sainsbury's supermarkets, sending at least 36 devices to injure staff and customers.

The Old Bailey in London was told he blackmailed Barclays after he had a dispute with the bank.

He switched his extortion campaign to the supermarket chain when he realised he would not get any money.

Pearce spent months stalking and photographing Sainsbury's customers.

[ image: The bomber's calling card]
The bomber's calling card
He threatened to target 150 of them with a high-powered cross-bow unless his demands for money were met.

Pearce was arrested in Whitton, west London, on 28 April last year after falling into a police trap when withdrawing money from a cash machine.

He had collected £700 that day - the only money he received during his campaign which left several people injured.

[ image: An advert placed to contact the blackmailer]
An advert placed to contact the blackmailer
At Pearce's home, police found a specially adapted briefcase able to take one of two cross-bows they recovered.

They also found more than 100 photographs of shoppers taken near various stores in the London area.

Pearce told police he spent three to four months taking the photographs and meticulously filing them in envelopes.

He pleaded guilty to 20 charges including causing an explosion, possessing firearms and wounding.

Detective Superintendent Jeffrey Rees said after last week's hearing that Pearce was a "callous and calculating" man who had been indifferent to causing death or injury.

Pearce's brother Ronald, 67, also of Chiswick, has already been jailed for a year after he admitted possessing a stun gun.

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12 Apr 99†|†Medical notes
Binswanger's disease factfile

08 Apr 99†|†UK
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07 Apr 99†|†UK
How Mardi Gra was stung

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