Published: Sat, December 08, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Teenager jailed for bomb threats to Worcestershire schools and airport security scare

Teenager jailed for bomb threats to Worcestershire schools and airport security scare

He sent the bomb threats in March and was arrested just days later.

George Duke-Cohan, 19, from the village of Garston, near Watford, just north of London, previously pleaded guilty to making three bomb hoaxes, including one in August against a transatlantic United Airlines flight that resulted in all 295 passengers aboard being exhaustively searched by U.S. police workers after the flight landed.

The hoaxer first sparked alarm in March 2018 when he emailed thousands of schools in the United Kingdom warning about an explosive.

More than 400 schools were evacuated, according to the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Worcester News reported on how Red Hill Primary School in Worcester sent children home early after receiving the email in which threats were made suggesting pupils would be harmed when they left school.

They succeeded in causing "alarm and anxiety", and one particular email said: "This is a message to everyone". The only way out is to go out with a bang.

His Honour Judge Richard Foster, sentencing, said that police investigating the bomb hoaxes had also found a Discord server on which Duke-Cohan used the handles "geor", "Trident" and "Plexit".

In his sentencing remarks, the judge added: "The scale of what you did was enormous".

'The passengers and crew on that flight on 9th August must have been terrified when their plane was taken to a quarantined area, and, apart from the financial cost, the onward travelling plans and connecting flights would have been in disarray, ' he added.

Duke-Cohan's bomb threat against United Airlines included him making a phone-call to San Francisco authorities in which he took on "the persona of a anxious father and [claimed] his daughter contacted him from the flight to say it had been hijacked by gunmen, one of whom had a bomb", said the National Crime Agency in a previous statement.

It claimed pipe bombs were hidden on schools' premises and a auto would be driven at students at home-time.

The teenager was arrested days later but he sent a further emails to schools in the United Kingdom and America while under investigation in April, including Marlborough College.

At the same time, authorities in the U.K. and USA discovered that Duke-Cohan was responsible for falsely reporting the hijack of a plane bound for the United States.

A tweet sent after the plane landed included the words "9/11 remake".

Luton Crown Court also heard how he caused a security scare with a phone call to an airport. The sentence handed down to Duke-Cohan today highlights the consequences of such offending.

"Nevertheless, your fascination with computer hacking and your motivation of seeking notoriety is indicative of your high culpability".

Anne McCracken, from the CPS, said of Duke-Cohan: "His actions and complete lack of regard for other people caused widespread and unnecessary worry".

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