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Brothers Deny 20 Charges Over Mardi Gra Bombings; Pair in dock after bank and store attacks.

TWO brothers yesterday denied 20 charges linked to the Mardi Gra bomb attacks on supermarkets and banks.

Jobless Edgar Pearce, 61, and retired Ronald Pearce, 67, stood side by side in the dock at the Old Bailey wearing grey sweatshirts while their pleas were taken during a 10-minute hearing.

Both deny possessing an explosive substance with intent to endanger life or damage property on April 28 last year.

Edgar denies nine charges of blackmail, one of causing an explosion, one of intending to cause an explosion, one of wounding, three assaults and four firearms offences spanning more than three years.

Ronald denies four blackmail charges, one wounding, one assault and two firearms offences. Both men, from Chiswick, west London, were remanded in custody. They are due to stand trial on April 7.

The charges in full are:

Edgar alone - between December 1 and 9, 1994, made an unwarranted demand of cards and money from Barclays Bank with menaces.

On December 6, 1994, assaulted Bali Hari.

On or about May 15, 1995, made an unwarranted demand of cards and money from Barclays with menaces.

On or about June 20, 1995, made an unwarranted demand of cards and money from Barclays with menaces.

On or about August 2, 1995, made an unwarranted demand of cards and money from Barclays with menaces.

On January 30, 1996, caused an explosion likely to endanger life or injure property.

On or about February 5, 1996, intended to cause an explosion.

On or about April, 3, 1996, made an unwarranted demand of cards and money from Barclays with menaces.

On April, 20, 1996, assaulted Tang Di.

On March 17, 1998, had with him an improvised shotgun device with intent to commit blackmail.

On or about April 28, 1998, possessed a prohibited Montenegrin Gasser revolver.

Both brothers - on or about July 11, 1996, made an unwarranted demand of cards and money from J Sainsbury with menaces.

On or about December 18, 1996, made an unwarranted demand of cards and money from J Sainsbury with menaces.

On or about January 7, 1997, made an unwarranted demand of cards and money from J Sainsbury with menaces.

On November 15, 1997, assaulted Michael Charalambous.

On or about December 16, 1997, made an unwarranted demand of cards and money from J Sainsbury with menaces.

On March 4, 1998, wounded Curtis Elliot Dennis.

On or about April 28, 1998, possessed a shotgun device to endanger life.

On or about April 28, 1998, had in their possession or under their control an explosive substance with intent to endanger life or cause injury.

On or about April 28, 1998, possessed two weapons designed or adapted for the discharge of a noxious thing.

The Mardi Gra bombings began in December, 1994, when six devices arrived in the post at Barclays Bank branches in west London.

They were inside video boxes wrapped in Christmas paper and carried the misspelt message "Welcome to the Mardi Gra experience." Later, Barclays received a letter demanding pounds 1million.

The campaign spread to Sainsburys. Over the next three and a half years 34 devices were discovered in places as far apart as London, Kent, Surrey, Hertfordshire, Cambridge and Middlesex.

Less than half detonated but several people were injured. Miraculously, no one was killed. As the attacks continued the bomber and police sometimes communicated by ads in papers. A police hunt cost an estimated pounds 20million.
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 6, 1999
Words:563
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