NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — A UK court has recently convicted a letter bomber who attacked an Orchid Cellmark facility among several other targets because he was concerned about the country’s increasing reliance on DNA for surveillance, according to local media reports.
One such bomb exploded in Orchid Cellmark’s offices in Abingdon Jan. 18, slightly injuring a pregnant receptionist, according to The Guardian.
The suspect, a 27-year-old primary school caretaker from Cambridge named Miles Cooper, was convicted last month. He pled guilty to 11 counts of sending letter bombs to companies in England and Wales and was sentenced to at least five years in prison.
In a campaign lasting more than two weeks in January, Cooper sent explosives to seven companies, including Orchid Cellmark and two others that conduct forensic science, as a protest against what he saw as a surveillance-obsessed society.
Five of the seven homemade explosives, made from firework powder, went off and injured a total of five people, none seriously.
Upon his conviction, Cooper told Oxford Crown Court that he was “concerned about the direction my country was heading in,” according to the BBC.
Orchid Cellmark was targeted because it provides DNA testing services. Cooper said at one point that he was upset about DNA testing policies because his father was unable to have DNA samples removed from a police database even though his name had been cleared of charges of assault.
Cooper pleaded not guilty to charges that he intended to cause injury or death, and said during testimony that he “was hoping to achieve a bomb scare, to shut down a building, but cause no real harm to any individual.”