Attleborough trader whose grenade ripped off part of woman’s finger sentenced

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VILLAGE SIGN - ATTLEBOROUGH ENGANL00120120828151354
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A woman lost part of her finger after a stun grenade she bought at a memorabilia stand at a war and peace exhibition exploded in her hand.

Sarah Bluck, 50, bought an Eastern European grenade case, a practice grenade and a stun grenade for £120 from collector Paul Heddell’s wartime paraphernalia stand.

Displaying live explosive devices on open and accessible shelving created a risk that they would be picked up and played with by children

Richard Heller

But when Ms Bluck tried to dismantle the Thunderflash stun grenade, which she thought was deactivated, it exploded in her hand, ripping off part of her middle finger.

The grenade was designed to explode twice, but Ms Bluck was able to throw it away before it caused more damage.

A bomb disposal squad was called to the event at Folkestone racecourse in Kent to make the showground safe while Ms Bluck was treated by paramedics

As well as losing part of her middle finger, she was also treated for burns to her hands, arms, legs and stomach in the incident in 2013.

The stand was operated by Paul Heddell, 50, who ran PDH Enterprises which supplies military equipment and props to film and TV, war re-enactors and theatre.

Prosecuting Heddell, Richard Heller told Canterbury Crown Court: “At no point was Ms Bluck advised that the stun grenade was in fact live explosive nor was there any indication given on the stall itself that live products were for sale or mixed in with inert products.

“Displaying live explosive devices on open and accessible shelving created a risk that they would be picked up and played with by children.”

Heddell’s original sentencing date was postponed as he faced other charges in Norwich, where he was jailed for five years for possessing a machine gun earlier this year.

Heddell, who appeared by prison video link, admitted two breaches under the Health and Safety laws.

He had no licence to store ‘live’ ammunition in Kent, the court was told.

Judge James O’Mahony gave him a six month jail sentence but ordered it to run concurrently with the other sentence. Heddell will also have to pay £5000 costs within six years.