Devon landowner 'threatened to blow up officers'

Exeter Crown Court Linda Elt told Exeter Crown Court she had no intention of igniting the fuel

A landowner armed with a can of diesel and a lighter threatened to blow up council officers, a court has heard.

Linda Elt was trying to stop contractors removing unauthorised buildings in Devon following a 20-year dispute, Exeter Crown Court heard.

She threw a lit object towards fuel on the ground but it did not ignite, the jury was told.

Ms Elt, 65, denies affray and threatening to cause criminal damage with intent to endanger life.

'Not joking'

The land - between Chawleigh and Chulmleigh in Devon - was the subject of a series of planning disputes starting when she moved on to the site in 1993 and ending in December when Mid Devon District Council decided to use what it called "direct action".

The court heard Ms Elt parked her van across the gateway and allegedly threatened council officers and their contractors when they arrived.

Mr Nigel Wraith, prosecuting, said: "She started making threats and told them if they did not go away she would blow the whole lot up and had petrol in the van."

He said the council officers backed off and called the police.

"A short time later she emerged and started to pour liquid from a fuel can on to the ground," Mr Wraith continued.

"She came out again with a piece of white plastic or paper which was alight.

"She warned them she was not joking and threw the paper towards the liquid, although fortunately the wind took it and it blew away."

'No intention'

He said police seized Ms Elt and found a second lighter in an inside pocket.

Ms Elt, of no fixed address who lives with three dogs in the van, said she had no intention of harming anyone and did not make any threats.

She told police she had only threatened herself and her property and had no intention of setting fire to the fuel because it may have harmed her dogs.

The trial continues.

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Devon

Weather

Plymouth

7 °C 4 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    10:05: School dinners contest BBC Spotlight

    Dinner ladies from across the south west will battle it out in the regional heats of Britain's School Chef of the Year competition in Plymouth today.

    chef

    The cooks have to whip up a healthy balanced two-course meal in just one and a half hours for a maximum of just £1.60 but forget the spotted dick, dishes include triple fish gateaux and creamy panna cotta with roasted figs and honey.

     
  2.  
    09:56: News on the hour

    The top news stories at 10:00 include:

    BBC Radio Cornwall: Drivers are asked to avoid the eastbound A30 at Fraddon as repair works continue after an accident.

    BBC Radio Devon: Charity raises 'overcrowding' concerns at Exeter Prison.

     
  3.  
    09:47: Cornwall travel problems BBC Travel South West

    There's disruption near the A30 at Launceston - the A395 in Launceston is partially blocked westbound near Kennards House, because of a broken down lorry.

    The A392 East Road in Quintrell Downs is partially blocked and busy but moving near the Bridle Way junction, because of an accident.

     
  4.  
    09:39: Waste plant divides village Alison Johns BBC Radio Cornwall

    A row over a proposed anaerobic digestion plant has split a quiet village on the Cornwall - Devon border.

    poo

    Some people in Boyton near Launceston are concerned about smell, disruption and the transportation of food waste 40 miles by road from Plymouth - the developers have rejected the criticism, saying the plant will provide a good source of renewable energy.

     
  5.  
    09:27: Bid to stop exploitation BBC Radio Devon

    A programme to help people with learning disabilities protect themselves from sexual exploitation has been developed in Devon, and is thought to be the first in the country.

    teacher

    The project is funded by Comic Relief and uses role play and discussions to help people understand the risks - those who work with people with learning disabilities say they are more vulnerable to sexual exploitation because of their need for friendship.

     
  6.  
    09:17: Slavery conference BBC Radio Cornwall

    Fears there could be as many as 13,000 victims of slavery currently in the UK are to be discussed at a high level conference in Cornwall today.

    The newly-appointed Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, campaigners, the police and church leaders are due to attend.

    The Bishop of Truro, the Right Reverend Tim Thornton, said: "How sad it is that we need to have a piece of legislation which is called the Modern Slavery Bill. We all would have hoped that slavery was something in the past. Clearly it is not."

     
  7.  
    09:06: Building to be demolished BBC Spotlight

    Work is beginning to demolish a fire-damaged building in Cullompton, branded an eyesore.

    fire

    The Harlequin Valet building on the main street has been derelict since 2010 - residents and campaigners from the pre-school club that meets next door are relieved that something is being done.

     
  8.  
    08:56: News on the hour

    The top news stories at 09:00 include:

    BBC Radio Cornwall: There's a warning modern slavery is a reality in the south west.

    BBC Radio Devon: A Devon project offers training to protect people with learning disabilities.

     
  9.  
    08:48: Lad praised for honesty

    The Plymouth Herald is reporting a schoolboy who found a wallet full of cash on a bus has been praised for his honesty after handing it to police.

    lad

    Ollie Brooks, 11, from Averton Gifford in the South Hams, was travelling home from Kingsbridge Community College when he found the wallet on the floor of the bus.

    He took it straight to the police so they could trace the owner, and officers have described Ollie as a 'credit to his family, the school and the local community' for his honest and honourable actions.

     
  10.  
    08:37: Devon road issues BBC Travel South West
    • There's an accident on Dotton Lane in Newton Poppleford blocking it near the Monkey Lane junction.
    • Congestion is reported on the M5 at Junction 27 - there's slow traffic on A361 westbound in Sampford Peverell at Tiverton in the roadworks area.
    • The A3079 Station Road in Halwill Junction is partially blocked due to an accident - it is busy, but moving near the Station Road junction.
     
  11.  
    08:26: Slavery warning Matt Pengelly Local Live

    The chief constable of Devon and Cornwall Police is urging the public to be more aware of modern slavery, ahead of a conference in Cornwall today.

    poster

    Shaun Sawyer said: "National figures suggest an increase in reports of victimisation in the areas of forced labour, domestic servitude and sexual exploitation, with an estimated 10,000 to 13,000 victims of slavery currently in the UK."

     
  12.  
    08:15: Sunshine and showers Kevin Thomas BBC Weather Forecaster

    There will be scattered showers and spells of sunshine today. Some showers will be heavy with hail and perhaps wintry over the moors.

    weather

    Moderate west or southwesterly winds will be fresh to strong further west, around showers and also exposed areas elsewhere. Max Temp 7C (45F).

     
  13.  
    08:07: A30 Cornwall accident BBC Travel South West

    On the A30 Cornwall Eastbound one lane is closed between Summercourt and Indian Queens, because of a multi-vehicle accident.

    And there's an accident on the Devon/Cornwall border, on the A39 near the turn for Meddon, north of Bude.

     
  14.  
    08:00: Good morning! Matt Pengelly Local Live

    I'll be bringing you the latest news, sport, travel and weather updates for Tuesday.

    If you've got a comment on this service or some news you'd like us to cover, please do email us.

     

Features

  • Mukesh SinghNo remorse

    Delhi bus rapist says victim shouldn't have fought back


  • Aimen DeanI spied

    The founder member of al-Qaeda who worked for MI6


  • Before and after shotsPerfect body

    Just how reliable are 'before and after' photos?


  • Lotus 97T driven by Elio de AngelisBeen and Gone

    A champion F1 designer and other notable losses


Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.