A librarian running late for his flight decided to take matters into his own hands to delay the plane – by calling in a bomb threat.
Jacob Meir Abdellak would never have made the Norwegian flight from Gatwick to Los Angeles, so he decided to alert police to a fictional threat.
The 47-year-old – who was jailed for the bomb hoax – managed to delay the flight by 90 minutes as authorities were forced to fully re-screen the plane.
He made the anonymous call at 5.47am on Friday 11 May – just eight minutes before the flight was due to take off.
It was later discovered the phone number he used to make the call was the same as the one linked to his booking.
Staff had also denied Abdellak boarding because he was significantly late for his flight and he had become abusive towards them.
He was told to come back on a later date to rearrange his flight.
Abdellak was arrested at Gatwick Airport nearly two weeks later 22 May 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.
But despite the overwhelming evidence he denied the offence throughout.
Abdellak, a French national living in Hackney, admitted the number was his, but claimed he had lost the SIM card a few days earlier so the call could not have been made by him.
But the day the trial was due to begin at Lewes Crown Court he changed his mind and pleaded guilty.
He was jailed for ten months on 14 August and required to pay a £140 victim surcharge.
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.
“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.”
By Ben Gelblum and Grainne Cuffe
Since you’re here …
We do not charge or put articles behind a paywall. If you can, please show your appreciation for our free content by donating whatever you think is fair to help keep TLE growing.
Every penny we collect from donations supports vital investigative and independent journalism. You can also help us grow by inviting your friends to follow us on social media.