Bomb hoaxer jailed

PUBLISHED: 14:36 01 August 2001 | UPDATED: 15:16 03 March 2010

A COURT has heard how an unemployed Ipswich man made three hoax calls to Suffolk Police telling them that a bomb was about to go off in central Ipswich in a matter of minutes.

AN unemployed Ipswich man made three hoax calls to Suffolk Police telling them that a bomb was about to go off in central Ipswich in a matter of minutes, a court heard today.

Neil Cook-Abbott, of Shenstone Drive, Ipswich was sentenced to a 12-month prison sentence at Ipswich Crown Court after pleading guilty to the charges which related to the QD store on Carr Street on February 10.

Peter Gair, prosecuting, told the court that Cook-Abbott had been banned from the QD store back in 1996, but had tried to return in February.

He was told to leave and tried, unsuccessfully, to smash the fire alarm before going.

Judge John Devaux then heard how Cook-Abbott had gone to three different pay phones and made the calls.

A tape of the calls was played and the 52-year-old was clearly heard to have said: "There is a bomb about to go off at 4.30pm in the QD store."

Later in the tape the operator asked Cook-Abbott how he knew of the bomb and he replied, "Just put that I know the information, I am just a bystander".

He went on to say he was from Leicester and became agitated when he was pressed for more information.

"Just tell the manager that there will be a bomb going off in a few minutes."

When he was arrested he denied any knowledge of the calls but was later identified as the man witnesses saw making calls from a phone box in Tower Ramparts.

CCTV evidence watched by the police was also not consistent with his story of where he was at the time of the calls.

Hugh Vass, defending, told the court that Cook-Abbott had many problems that needed to be addressed and that up until he was made unemployed he was of good character.

"After being unemployed since 1989 he became depressed and it was then his offending began.

"He repressed his perhaps legitimate anger and let it come out in this unfortunate way."

When sentencing him to 12 months in prison, which will be reduced to six months with six months suspended Judge Devaux said: "You have been treated very leniently in the past.

"You made no less than three calls to the emergency services when they may have been needed for very serious incidents and because of your foolish acts they were taken away.

"The public's safety must be put before you on this occasion."

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