A SOMERSET mother-of-nine extracted gunpowder from hundreds of party poppers in a bid to make an "explosive necklace" to kill herself.

Former postwoman Erin Foley said she wanted to "blow her head off", Taunton Crown Court heard this week.

The 43-year-old also bought an antique pistol from the internet, a judge was told.

Foley, of Eastland Road, Yeovil, admitted possessing explosive substances used to make gunpowder and possessing a firearm with a certificate - a modified muzzle loading percussion pistol.

The court heard police were tipped off about the chemicals she had at her home and found three tubs of gunpowder she had extracted from the party poppers, as well as ball bearings and chemicals including potassium nitrate, sulphur and carbon.

Defence barrister Patrick Mason said Foley had no previous convictions and had a productive life.

But he said her mental health suffered in the two years before the offences and she had wanted to take her own life, but not hurt anyone else including harming her neighbours.

Foley had extracted the gunpowder to make an explosive necklace to blow her head off, the court heard.

The judge, Mr Justice Garnham, sentenced her to nine months in jail on both counts, suspended for two years.

She has spent four and a half months on remand in prison and five of her children had been taken into care.

He told her it was "an unusual case" but a very serious one.

The judge said ordinarily such offences would attract a substantial jail sentence, but conceded that Foley had significant mitigation including suffering PTSD in childhood experiences.

He said her intention was to injure herself and she had no intention of hurting anyone else.