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£40m cost of public school teen’s M-way petrol bombs

Tailbacks: After the second attack PIC: PA

A PUBLIC schoolboy who threw firebombs on to a motorway has been sent to a psychiatric hospital.

Nicholas Elger, 17, was described by a judge as a ‘dangerous young man’ for twice throwing petrol bombs on to the M3 in September 2017.

One witness described the ‘carriageway ablaze with flames reaching the height of a person’ and another had to swerve to avoid one ‘firebomb’.

Rob Welling, prosecuting, said the motorway was closed for several hours after the second attack, causing huge tailbacks. ‘The estimated damage to the local economy is £40million,’ he said.

Elger claimed he had been hearing voices and ‘was sort of trying to kill someone’, said Mr Welling.

Judge Keith Cutler lifted his right to anonymity because of the public interest. Elger admitted arson, theft and burglary, and blackmail charges against Winchester College, where he was a boarder.

He twice demanded £10,000 in bitcoin from the public school and had stolen computer equipment worth £37,000.

He was ordered to be assessed at a psychiatric unit but was warned he faced a custodial sentence if his condition was deemed to be untreatable.

A further hearing will take place at Winchester crown court on May 18.