Bomb hoax man sent to psychologist

IPSWICH: A mentally-ill man who closed off Ipswich town centre with a bomb hoax has been sent for psychological treatment.

Jo Thewlis

IPSWICH: A mentally-ill man who closed off Ipswich town centre with a bomb hoax has been sent for psychological treatment.

Martin Lambourne, 53, sparked widespread disruption when he left a suitcase emblazoned with the word “bomb” outside South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court in Elm Street on April Fools' Day last year.

Pupils at St Matthew's School in Civic Drive were evacuated to a nearby church and office workers from the AXA building were also removed.

Prisoners in the cells at Ipswich Police Station opposite were moved to other stations while police staff were cleared from the building.

Lambourne, who had previously pleaded guilty to causing a public nuisance, was referred for hospital treatment under the Mental Health Act at Ipswich Crown Court on Tuesday.

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Judge Peter Thompson said: “You caused absolutely immense disruption and, I suspect 1,000s of people because you put your suitcase outside the magistrates' court.

“You closed Civic Drive, which is one of the busiest roads in town.”

Bomb disposal experts were called after staff at the court discovered the hoax at 7.30am on the morning of the drama.

The bag was immediately treated as a genuine threat as it came on the same day as the G20 summit in London. The case was detonated in a controlled explosion and found to have been a false alarm

John Farmer, prosecuting, told the court Lambourne, of no fixed abode, had a history of mental disorder and suffered from either a delusional disorder or schizophrenia.

Robert Hackett, a senior forensic psychologist at St Clements Hospital, told the court: “He doesn't see there's anything at all wrong and maintains there is a conspiracy against him.”

The court heard Lambourne, who was homeless, had left the threat in protest as he was frustrated he hadn't been given the care and accommodation he felt he deserved.

He had previous convictions for harassment, threats to kill and breaching a restraining order and was eventually tracked using CCTV footage of the town centre the night before the hoax.

Craig Rush, in mitigation, said Lambourne's actions were “a cry for help”.

Were you affected by the hoax? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk