Man jailed for hoax bomb call to Gatwick Airport
A man made a hoax bomb call to Gatwick Airport in an attempt to catch a flight to the USA.
Police said Jacob Meir Abdellak was running late for his Norwegian flight from Gatwick to Los Angeles.
Eight minutes before the plane was due to leave the French national contacted officers to report a bomb threat at the airport.
Police said it was later confirmed the number used to report the hoax was the same number on Abdellak’s booking reference.
The 47-year-old librarian, of Amhurst Park, Hackney, London, claimed he had lost the SIM card a few days before the call was made. However, two days before he was set to be tried at Lewes Crown Court he changed his plea to guilty and he was sentenced to 10 months in prison.
Gatwick Police Chief Inspector Marc Clothier said: “This was a quite ridiculous decision made by Abdellak, who fabricated an extremely serious allegation purely for his own benefit. He was running late for his flight and thought it would be a good idea to call in a hoax bomb, however this turned out to be the worst decision he could have made.
“His actions caused the flight to be delayed, and also caused a level of fear and distress among a number of staff and passengers on board that flight.”
Police said the anonymous call was received around 5.50am on Friday May 11.
The allegation led to a full re-screening at the airport delaying take-off by 90 minutes. Despite the delay officers said Gatwick Airport found Abdellak was significantly late for the flight and he was denied boarding by airline staff. He became abusive and was told to return on another date to rearrange his flight.
Abdellak was arrested at Gatwick Airport on Tuesday May 22 as he attempted to board another flight to the USA.
He was charged with communicating false information regarding a noxious substance likely to create serious risk to human health.
He denied the charge before changing his plea at a crown court hearing on Tuesday (August 14).
As well as being jailed he was required to pay a £140 victim surcharge.
CI Clothier added: “The consequences of making allegations about bombs, guns or similar at densely populated locations such as airports are well documented, and Abdellak’s sentence serves as a warning to others that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated and offenders will be dealt with robustly.”