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Winchester M3 arson: Teenager’s hospital order extended

Royal Navy bomb disposal vehicle on the scene Image copyright Simon Read
Image caption Bomb disposal experts were called to the scene on 23 September

A public schoolboy who threw fire bombs from a motorway bridge in the hope of killing drivers has had his interim hospital order extended.

Former Winchester College pupil Nicholas Elger, 17, was made subject to the order in March after pleading guilty to charges including arson.

Judge Keith Cutler told Winchester Crown Court Elger’s psychiatric assessment was continuing.

He extended the order until 15 June, before a possible sentencing in July.

Image copyright Michael Ford
Image caption Elger burgled and blackmailed Winchester College while he was a pupil there

Elger caused an estimated £40m in damage to the economy by forcing the closure of part of the M3 for 11 hours on 23 September , the court heard previously.

A driver approaching the motorway bridge near Winchester found the “carriageway ablaze with flames reaching the height of a person”.

A week earlier, on 16 September, a lorry driver had to swerve to avoid two fire bombs thrown from the bridge, the court was told.

In later interviews, Elger said he had been hoping to kill someone and regretted that he had not succeeded.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of arson recklessly endangering life, eight burglaries at his school and two counts of blackmail, in which he twice demanded about £20,000 from the headmaster to stop the break-ins.

Image caption The motorway was closed for 11 hours after a substance was thrown from a bridge

Elger, from Winchester, also previously admitted shoplifting materials for his bombs from a branch of Tesco in Winchester.

Prosecutor Martyn Booth told the court Elger’s doctors were “working towards a meeting in July in what they hope to achieve with this particular defendant, if anything”.

Judge Cutler said: “There is a quite of lot of work going on, with some areas of concern.”

Previously, Winchester College said Elger had left before the motorway attacks in order to receive the “extensive medical support he required”.

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