A man who made a hoax bomb call in an attempt to delay a transatlantic flight he was running late for has been jailed for ten months.
Jacob Meir Abdellak was trying to catch a Norwegian flight to Los Angeles on May 11.
The 47-year-old librarian called the police to report the threat – making the call at 5.47am, just eight minutes before the flight was due to depart.
A full re-screening then took place, delaying take-off by 90 minutes.
Abdellak was denied boarding by airline staff and became abusive, before eventually being told to return on another date to re-arrange his flight.
Officials subsequently ascertained that the telephone number used to make the call was the same number linked to his booking.
Abdellak, from Hackney, London, was arrested at Gatwick on May 22 as he tried to board another flight to the US.
He was charged with communicating false information regarding a noxious substance likely to create serious risk to human health.
He originally denied the offence, saying that while the telephone number was his, he had lost the SIM card a few days earlier and therefore could not have made the call.
But he changed his plea to guilty at Lewes Crown Court in on Tuesday.
Abdellak was sentenced to ten months in prison and ordered to pay a £140 victim surcharge.
Chief Inspector Marc Clothier of Sussex police, who has responsibility for Gatwick, 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.
“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.”
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