April Fools bomb hoaxer sentenced to secure unit stay

IPSWICH: A mentally ill man is in a secure unit today after his April Fools' Day bomb hoax left the town centre gridlocked.

IPSWICH: A mentally ill man is in a secure unit today after his April Fools' Day bomb hoax left the town centre gridlocked.

Rush-hour chaos ensued after Martin Lambourne left a suitcase with the word 'bomb' written on it outside South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court in Elm Street.

Police officers closed off Civic Drive and Elm Street as a precaution at around 8am on April 1 this year.

Lambourne, of no fixed address, was sentenced to a three-month interim detention order under the Mental Health Act when he appeared before Ipswich Crown Court yesterday.

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Prosecutor Andrew Cotter told the court the 53-year-old had previously pleaded guilty to an offence under the Public Nuisance Act.

Two reports from forensic psychiatrists were presented to the court as evidence of Lambourne's mental health problems.

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Judge John Holt said one of the conclusions from Professor Bob Peckitt's report was that Lambourne had an escalating pattern of anti-social behaviour and harassment. Experts also said Lambourne suffered from a personality disorder with psychotic tendencies.

Lambourne has been before the courts on a number of occasions over the past six years for harassment, threats to kill, and breaching a restraining order.

Bomb disposal experts had to be called to deal with the suspect case on the day and the area around the magistrates' court was cleared at around 9.30am.

Police set up their Gold Command system to deal with the alert, which was treated very seriously because it came on the day of protests in London over the G20 summit involving world leaders.

Prisoners in the cells at Ipswich police station opposite the court had to be moved to other stations across the county. Children from St Matthew's School in Civic Drive were taken to a nearby church for safety and the day's business at the magistrates' court was disrupted.

Lambourne is currently being treated at St Clement's Hospital in Ipswich. His case will be reviewed when the three-month detention order expires.

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