LONDON, England -- A school caretaker who sent letter bombs to protest against what he called Britain's "authoritarian" Government has apologized to his victims, according to agency reports.
Miles Cooper, 27, of Cambridge, eastern England, was sentenced at Oxford Crown Court Friday to at least five years.
He was found guilty yesterday of 11 charges relating to explosive devices he sent to offices in London, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Kent, Birmingham and Swansea in January and February of this year.
During the trial Cooper had not denied sending the letters but did deny any intention of seriously injuring the recipients.
The trial, which lasted four days, heard that people who had opened Cooper's packages -- including a pregnant woman -- were covered in glass fragments or nails.
Cooper had sent seven parcels, of which five exploded, to companies and organizations linked to what he called the UK's "surveillance society", including vehicle licensing departments, speed camera administrators and forensics labs.
The court heard that Cooper, who had campaigned against government plans to introduce ID cards, became even angrier when his father Clive was unable to get DNA samples taken off a database after he was accused of assault in 2003 -- despite being cleared of the offence.
It is policy in the UK to retain DNA evidence of a suspect, even if they are later found to be innocent.
After today's sentencing, Cooper's solicitor, Julian Richards, read a statement on behalf of his client, reports the Press Association.
The agency said that Cooper accepted he was behind the attacks and that he never intended that those receiving the devices should suffer serious harm.
"These actions were motivated by, as he perceived it, the Government's concerted and ongoing efforts to control its citizens, eroding their civil liberties and hard-won freedom," PA reported Cooper's solicitor as saying in his statement.
The statement continued to say, PA reports, that Cooper was concerned by recent Government plans to introduce an ID card scheme, as well as expand a database which holds individual's DNA details.
"He can't explain why he chose to register his protest to this in such an extreme manner -- all he can say is that he felt compelled to after peaceful methods that he employed were not successful," the agency reports the statement as saying. E-mail to a friend