6 Real People Who Turned Their Homes Into Death Traps

#3. Ian Price's Explosive Spare Room

The Backstory:

Ian Price had a couple of problems: his marriage was on the rocks, he was hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, he had to keep hiding his mistress and, worst of all, he had a job as a kitchen planner. And this was unfortunate. Ian was a simple man; he didn't want much. All he wanted was a bunch of unearned money and the freedom to bone his new mistress over the corpse of his dead miserable wife. And who among us hasn't sought a similar aspiration? Should we really fault Ian for daring to chase down his dreams?

The Execution:

Oh yes, very much so, we can. Price built a device to go off and torch his house while his wife was in it, killing her and netting him both the fire insurance and her life insurance benefits, which is less like "chasing your dreams" and more like... well, "burning down your house and murdering your wife." There's not really an analogue there.

The device involved a heat gun, a light timer, a stack of wicker furniture, a blowtorch and a gas cylinder, and about a metric ton of crazy.

The biggest flaw in a plan that was positively dripping with flaws was that it relied on his wife idly sitting in the house while it burned to the ground. Mrs. Price, being at least a hair smarter than Mr. Price, knew enough to walk out of the flaming house after calling the fire department. The firefighters found Price's little toy and Price is currently waiting in jail learning how many years of prison rape he's going to be sentenced to.

"And I wouldn't gotten away with it if it wasn't for those meddling cops. And those pesky fireman. And my wife's functioning legs. And a basic understanding of physics. And..."

#2. Nigel Cockburn's Magical Exploding Shed

The Backstory:

Nigel Cockburn, in addition to his humiliating name, owned three cottages and a shed in the middle of nowhere (England) that he claimed people kept breaking into. Cock-"The Hammer"-burn claims that he was broken into 20 times in 14 years, and that anybody he confronted about it promised to get 50 friends to beat the crap out of him, because beating the shit out of a British scientist clearly requires a couple of rugby teams. So when the police seemed useless, Cockburn did what any nerd would do: started stockpiling serial killer supplies and installing beartraps on the doors to defend them.

Also known as "Bronsonization."

The Execution:

On July 10, 2006, Cockburn's shed caught fire and, because they're good at what they do, a bunch of firefighters just burst in to save the day. Then, because they're also good at not getting killed, they decided to burst right on out when they saw that Cockburn had massive piles of ammo stored inside. When the police came, they found that, beyond the flaming shed, Cockburn had wired his cottages with a bunch of infrared sensors, and had, in addition to a whole bunch of ammo he wasn't supposed to own, tubs of weed killer and other chemicals, canisters of gas and a whole bunch of CCTV cameras. And if that didn't convince them, he also had a microwave in his shed that would electrocute you if you touched certain items in the area(re: any items in there).

Oh, there's more. Ian Swan, an explosives expert, made the mistake of pushing open a door and got instantly whacked with a beartrap made out of solid steel with eight nails soldered onto it (what the police are calling a "man trap"). Swan says he felt it go right down into the bone and, providing the typical British understatement, said it was "quite painful."

Cockburn, when he was dragged into court, showed balls almost as big as Swan's when he claimed the razor-sharp device rigged to the door was just "welding practice." The jury didn't buy it and convicted him of everything he was charged with except "wounding with intent," or, as Cockburn would probably call it, "murder practice."

#1. John Saperstein's Anti-Baby Apartment

The Backstory:

1997 was a weird time for all of us, that's a given. John Saperstein, an unemployed construction worker living in New York, took weirdness to the extreme. Instead of looking for a job, he decided to channel his energy into selling small children fireworks and knives hidden in lipstick tubes. But you've been reading this whole article, so you already know that's not the stupidest thing Saperstein did.

The Execution:

Possibly while experimenting on a new, horrible, exploding toy to sell to children, Saperstein managed to blow a hole in his left hand with some homemade explosives. En route to the hospital, Saperstein warned the cops that he had two bombs set up in his apartment--which proves you can still be a dick with a missing hand, because Saperstein had actually rigged up four.

"Haha, I got you, you stupid fuckers. Oh, man, the looks on your faces."

One was the classic tripwire bomb like Grandpa Rambo used to make, and another was hidden in a small container. But Saperstein really got creative with the last two, which he hid in a flashlight and in an empty box of baby wipes. So he had it out against people who moved around a lot, looked in small containers and needed baby wipes.

If that sounds a lot like a baby, it might surprise you to know Saperstein actually had his 18-month-old daughter in the house.

"Haha, I got you, you stupid, baby, fucker. Oh, man, I didn't think this through."

So maybe he was just trying to do the right-wing militia version of Baby's Day Out and shooting got a little out of hand. Or maybe a guy who sells M-80s and lipstick knives to kids just possibly isn't the most responsible parent you can find.

You can find more of Dan at http://seitzeeing.wordpress.com/.

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