Blast man still serious in hospital

POLICE officers say they are waiting to speak to a man who is in hospital with severe hand injuries after a device exploded in his Essex home. The 25-year-old, named by neighbours as Carl Hylands, lost his hand in the blast which ripped through his home in Colchester.

POLICE officers say they are waiting to speak to a man who is in hospital with severe hand injuries after a device exploded in his Essex home.

The 25-year-old, named by neighbours as Carl Hylands, lost his hand in the blast which ripped through his home in Colchester.

The thunderflash which exploded is described as a distraction device, normally used by organisations such as the police and army to stun and disorientate.

Last night, a spokesman for Essex Police said they were still analysing the item that was recovered.


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She said: “The man is still in a very serious condition in hospital with serious injuries and burns.

“We will be investigating it and looking into all the circumstances.”

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She said the investigation remained at an early stage and they were not yet able to speak to the man because of the extent of his injuries.

He is being treated in a specialist burns unit at Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford.

The blast on Thursday evening blew out windows at Mr Hylands' tiny terraced home in East Street and left a huge crack across the front of the building.

Neighbours Shawn and Angela Smith were first on the scene and helped Mr Hylands, his girlfriend Liz Manchester, 22, and two other men to safety.

Mr Smith, 43, said: “We heard a huge bang and thought there'd been an accident on the street outside.

“I went outside and we could see smoke coming from Carl's house. I went in there and got Carl and the others out.

“Liz was in a right old state. She was shaking and hyperventilating and was covered in Carl's blood.

“His hand was in a terrible state and he had suffered all sorts of burns but he was being remarkably calm about the whole thing.”

Steve Meade, who lives nearby, heard the blast from his back garden as he was having a barbeque.

He said: “The bloke was standing on the pavement, he was actually walking about but was covered in blood which was on his girlfriend as well.

“The firefighters came down and closed the road off - it was one hell of scene out there.”

Firefighters put out a blaze at the house caused by the explosion which also left the house severely damaged inside.

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