INSTEAD of filing for divorce, cowardly Larry Hoagland tried to get out of his marriage by duct-taping a pipe bomb under his wife’s pickup truck!

Then, using a cell phone rigged to detonate the bomb, Larry dialed the number 18 times. But the bomb never went off – it was a dud.

Undeterred, Larry then tried to poison her coffee, but that didn’t work either.

Finally, lowly Larry rigged another pipe bomb – and this one did explode, leaving 54-year-old Connie Hoagland lying in a pool of blood outside the San Diego residential child care center where she worked. Her feet and lower legs had been shattered in the horrific blast.

The mother of three struggled to survive, enduring seven grueling surgeries – including one in which they inserted a titanium rod into her leg – and 35 days in the hospital. At one point, she nearly lost her life after suffering an embolism.

In the first few days, no one – especially Connie – suspected 50-year-old Larry could have been involved in the bombing. But then something strange happened. While still in the hospital, Connie was stunned to receive a phone call from her husband in which he confessed to carrying on a years-long affair with his high school sweetheart.

It wasn’t long before detectives started to get suspicious. The big break in the case came when Larry’s business partner discovered evidence of the affair, as well as 22 instructional videos about making pipe bombs, on the office computer they shared.

AUTHORITIES SAY Hoagland, who had a $300,000 life insurance policy on his wife, was deeply in debt and being pressured by his mistress, Lee Ann Rupert in Philadelphia, to leave his wife and marry her.

“Hoagland was planning to kill his wife, collect the insurance and run off with his girlfriend,” San Diego Sheriff’s Department Detective Robert Luke, lead investigator on the case, told The ENQUIRER. “Web searches were the biggest lead we had on him and showed he’d been searching for information on how to build bombs.”

In the end, everyone turned against the creep. His mistress Lee Ann swore she knew nothing about his murderous intentions and even testified against him in court. Connie also took the stand, saying: “You had no sense of my strength. You tried to kill the mother of your children. You tried to kill me. You disgust me. You had it all and you threw it all away for lust, greed and pride.”

His two daughters and son also disavowed him in court.

“A burden has been lifted and the evil is no longer hanging over this family,” son Jonathan told him. ”And, by evil, I mean you. You are pure evil.”

Hoagland was sentenced to 13 years plus life behind bars but is eligible for parole in 20 years, which didn’t sit well with prosecutor Kurt Mechals. “We got everything that we could get,” Mechals, deputy D.A. for San Diego County told The ENQUIRER. “Is it enough? I don’t know. Twenty years is not a lot for someone who tries to kill his wife and maims her for life. It was the best the system could do under the circumstances.”